The Dog Days of Summer

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – It's hot and humid once again; many would call this time of year the "Dog Days of Summer." We say it all the time, but why? What does it mean?

The phrase "dog days" refers to the most hot and humid days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, this period is usually experienced in the months of July and August, which typically have the highest summer temperatures.

The ancient Romans associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. Sirius was considered the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which means "large dog." The Romans would sacrifice a brown dog at the beginning of "Dog Days" to appease the anger of Sirius because they believed the star was the cause of the hot weather.

For about 20 days beginning in late July, Sirius actually rises and sets with the sun, so the Romans put two and two together and concluded that Sirius added its heat to the sun and made things extra hot. The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional period of the "Dog Days" as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11. Typically, these are the days of the year with the least rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere.

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