Dog days of Summer

July 22nd, 2012 at 8:24 pm by under Weather

Its that lazy time of year, when the kiddos are squeezing out every ounce of summer break, and the days are long and hot.  Yes, its the Dog Days of Summer.  Now, unlike other ‘dog’ sayings like ‘sick as a dog’ (cause my dogs are much more healthy than I am), I do understand the Dog Days of Summer.  The time period gets its name from the stars.  Most of us are familiar with the shapes the stars appear to make, these are the constellations.  In the sky one of these constellations, Canis Major, Latin for the ‘Greater Dog’ can be seen at night containing the brightest star in the sky.  This bright star is known as Sirius.  Back in ancient times the Romans had thought that this unusually bright star, Sirius, brought extra heat to the Earth.  The hottest period of Northern Hemisphere Summer appeared to align with the conjunction of the Sun and Sirius.  In basic terms conjunction of the Sun and Sirius was the point when they were at almost the exact same location in the sky, rising at almost the same time.  The time period 20 days before and 20 days after this conjunction is considered to be the Dog Days of Summer.  Back in Ancient Roman time this period was typically from July 23rd-August 23rd (+/- day), and is still considered the Dog Days in some parts.   According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the Dog Days start on July 3rd and end on August 11th.  This might have merit too since the date of the conjunction has changed slightly over time.  Eventually the conjunction will not even occur during Summer (Dog Days of Spring?).  Anyways, one thing that is true, is that there is no proof that Sirius, the Dog Star, provides any added heat to Earth.  Now it just seems like its one of those fun phrases that we all use in the middle of Summer when its real hot, and we’re real lazy.  Because you know, when its hot, dogs are lazy :)  It also gives us Meteorologists a reason to make goofy graphics with a giant picture of dog on it… and that’s fun.

Average high temps climb tomorrow up to 97 tomorrow and will peak at 98 in the early part of August, and then begin to fall a few days after the end of the Farmers’ Almanac’s Dog Days of Summer.  If you follow the dates of the Ancient Romans… our average high is 97 or 98 during the Dog Days, or warmer than during the Farmers’ Almanac’s dates.  Either way, its hot, and really its not getting much cooler until late September, or if you take a trip away from Central Texas.

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