Science Course with Ryan Morse: What and when are the “dog days of summer”

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – We have all heard of the “dog days of summer.” Many attribute the saying to the effect the heat has on our pets that leaves them panting and looking for a cool spot in the shade.

Originally the phrase had no connection to our dogs’ reaction to heat. So, when exactly are these days and where does this saying come from?

Pictured above is Sirius, or the Dog Star.

In Ancient Greek and Roman cultures, the “dog days” happened when the dog star appeared to rise alongside the sun in late July in the northern hemisphere.

They believed the bright star combined with the heat of the sun made it the hottest time of the year.

According to Old Farmer’s Almanac, the “dog days of summer” occur from July 3 to August 11. This means we are technically no longer in the “dog days of summer.”

Earth’s rotation has a slight wobble which means over thousands of years the positions of stars has shifted. Our “dog days” are a few weeks later in the calendar then they used to be because of this shift.

Historians say in 10,000 years the rising of Sirius will fall back late enough in the calendar where the star won’t rise alongside the sun until winter. Who knows maybe the saying will change to the “dog days of winter?”

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