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Dog Days of Summer Are Here

Sirius in the Constellation Canis Major
Sirius in the Constellation Canis Major

Southeast Texas is experiencing “dog days of summer”. During this time it has been said that birds quit singing, wounds don’t heal, snakes become meaner and wine becomes sour. So how did this description come to be used with this hot sultry time of year?

The term “dog days of summer” goes back to ancient times and the observance of constellations which were much easier to view in the unlit night sky. Sirius is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (large dog).

Ancient Egyptians called Sirius the “dog star”. Its appearance in the east warned them of the rising of the river Nile each year, thereby enabling them to prepare for the inundation.

Egyptians and Romans thought this star added heat to earth during its presence overhead. In summer when it rose and set with the sun, it was felt that the rays of Sirius mingled with the sun’s rays intensifying temperature.