Saturday, August 1, 2020

They Don’t Call Them the Dog Days For Nothing

I know it’s Saturday, the day normally reserved for all things feline, but it’s August 1st which means we are officially in the dog days of summer - when all manner of madness can occur.

Specific dates for the dog days vary – some believe them to be the entire month of August, in Scandinavia they run from July 22 through August 22 and the Old Farmer’s Almanac pegs them as July 3 – August 11. Most people associate them with the hottest and most humid days of summer – so miserable that it drives dogs mad. In fact it has less to do with overheated pooches and more to do with the night sky, or early morning sky to be exact. The Dog Days coincide with the early morning rising of Sirius, the Dog Star.

Let's Get 'Sirius' About the Dog Star, Sky's Brightest Twinkler

Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Majoris - the “Greater Dog” – from which Sirius gets its official name, Alpha Canis Majoris.

So if you can’t sleep due to the heat, humidity or events of the day you can always get up and watch the Dog star rise.  And if you can pick out the entire constellation, well good on you. I will confess, I’ve never been very good at picking the constellations out of a sea of stars.

Canis Major: Facts, Myth, Star Map, Major Stars, Deep Sky Objects ...Lovely, but I’m not spotting Spot

Sirius, being the brightest star in the sky, is easy to spot but it’s accompanying canine frame, well not so much, not for me anyway.

But then a real dog is a lot more fun anyway.

Jim Daly (1940) | Painting, Country art, ArtJim Daly Painting

Of course they’ll expect to take turns.

tireswing hashtag on Twitter“Hey, my turn Buddy. They don’t call them the dog days for nothing.”