Monday, August 25, 2014
The dog days of summer are here. In honor of their arrival, I have decided to explore where the phrase comes from. It's too hot to do anything else.
As it turns out, the "Dog Days of Summer" dates back to ancient Rome, of course.
Near to the constellation Orion (The Hunter) is Canis Major (Greater Dog). According to ancient lore, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs. In the Canis Major constellation is a star named Sirius, also called the "Dog Star." With the exception of our sun, Sirius is the brightest star visible from Earth. The brilliant, blue-white star’s name comes from the Greek word for “searing” because it is so bright
During April and early May, Sirius was quite visible in the southwest after sunset because it was so bright. But by the time mid-summer came along, Sirius would rise and set with the sun and therefore get lost in the daytime light.
The ancients knew that "Dog Star" was still there somewhere, and figured that since Sirius was so bright and up there with the sun, it had to be helping produce and add to the substantial rise in temps. Hence the "Dog Days of Summer."
To find this constellation
Orion rises before dawn this time of year. It is recognizable for the short straight line of three stars that make up Orion’s Belt. Sirius follows Orion into the sky. It's very bright and twinkling. It’s so bright that when it’s low in the sky it shines with glints of red and flashes of blue!
Dog Days • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $200