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Vol. 5, No. 7 | July 2013

 

 

 

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The Dog Days of Summer Are Here!
The History Behind the Phrase...

US MED Gives BackThe term Dog Days dates back to ancient times when people studied the sky and relied on the heavens and the stars for navigation and spiritual sustenance.

These ancients looked into the night sky, before modern lights obscured the stars, and imagined that the constellations formed images of bears (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), a bull (Taurus) and dogs (Canis Major and Canis Minor).

Sirius, called the dog star, was the brightest star in the night sky. It was so bright that the Romans thought it added heat to the earth.

In late summer, Sirius rises and sets with the sun, furthering the notion that the heat of the combined stars created the muggy, sultry weather. They called the 20-day alignment of the sun and Sirius, the Dog Days.

This alignment can vary in exact dates with the latitude of the observer and by the annual variances in the equinoxes.

Most of us know only that this period is too hot for a good disposition and we'll be looking for ways to stay cool during those 20 days. We could go for a swim, take a vacation to a cooler climate, go to an air-conditioned theater, or spend time leisurely shopping at the air conditioned mall. Dress in cool clothes and don't overexert.

But if you are still uncomfortable, you can blame it on the big dog and that familiar old star, the sun.

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