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Doggone it, the temperature is hot out there! But they don’t call it the Dog Days of Canis MajorSummer for nothing, right? Here at Lions Pride, we thought it would be interesting to find out what this common phrase has to do with man’s best friend.

The official Dog Days of Summer take place from July 3 to August 11. Many people assume that the common phrase comes from the sluggish behavior that dogs exhibit during this six-week stretch, but the real meaning comes from astronomy.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the phrase originated in reference to the fact that at this time, the sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of the planet and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

During the summer, the sun rises and sets with Sirius. July 23 is a particularly significant date because the star becomes incredibly bright. In fact, the ancient Romans believe that it acted as an additional heat source, increasing the sun’s warmth. As a result, the Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and after Sirius’s alignment with the sun.

Of course, this period may very well be the hottest stretch of the summer, but it doesn’t anything to do with the brightest star. The heat of the summer comes from the position of the Earth’s tilt. The tilt of the Earth causes the sun’s rays to hit at a more of a direct angle and a more extended period of time during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere – meaning hotter, longer days than we experience the rest of the year.

We know that miserably hot, muggy days are not always pleasant, but it’s the perfect time to participate in water activities like boating, swimming and relaxing. Remember, we live in Wisconsin, so it won’t be long until there’s snow on the ground.

Enjoy the Dog Days of Summer and stay cool out there!