Greetings NTMCA Members!
Did you know that July 3 through August 11 are considered the “Dog Days of Summer?” According to the Farmer’s Almanac, some say that it signifies hot sultry days “not fit for a dog,” That makes me laugh.
The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.
In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”
Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11 each year.