Dog Days of Summer

Close up of Sirius the Dog Star. Credit: Akira Fujii, Public domain.
The Dog Days of Summer are from July 3rd through August 11 each year. The hottest days of the summer coincide with the appearance of the star Sirius, the Dog star in the same region of the sky as the Sun in late July in the northern hemisphere. These are indeed the hottest, most humid days in Philadelphia. My garden suffers.
Sirius aligns with the Sun about July 23. The name “Sirius” comes from the ancient Romans.The name “Sirius” is a Latin word taken from the Greek word , seirios astēr, which means “scorching star”.
The constellation it is located in Canis Major, the Big Dog. Canis Major is Orion the Hunter’s hunting dog. Canis major is called a companion constellation to Orion the Hunter. Sirius the Dog is depicted as ready to pounce on another constellation, the Rabbit, Orion the Hunter’s prey.

Finding the Sirius, Dog Star

Sirius is not hard to find in the night sky. Sirius is the brightest star in Canis Major. It is also the brightest star in the sky, north of the equator and facing south when it is visible. It’s a binary star which means it has a twin star which orbits with it. The companion is called the Sirius B and is a white dwarf.

I find Canis Major by first locating Orion the Hunter. The Hunter’s belt has three stars in a straight line.  Canis Major and Sirius are to the left of Orion. Canis Major is behind Orion, located near the heels of Orion’s feet.

The Relief from the Dog Days

No matter how hot it gets in the summer, I know that the heat and humidity will ease up soon. I count the days until the end of the Dog Days. After the dog days end the cool nights return about August 15th in my region.
This is the time that gardeners set out their seeds and transplants for the fall cool season harvest. It is all connected.

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