Why do we call them the 'Dog Days' of summer?

Why do we call them the 'Dog Days' of summer?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The "Dog Days" of summer actually has nothing to do with dogs or the lazy days of summer, either.

Today, the idiom is used to describe the sultry days at the end of summer.

The phrase actually refers to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the sky.

Sirius is a star system and the brightest star in the Earth's night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is almost twice as bright as Canopus, which is the next brightest star.

To the Greeks and Romans, the Dog Days happened around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July.

They believed it was the hottest time of the year. We've learned over hundreds of years, that's not always necessarily true.

Want to see Sirius?

In Northeast Ohio, Sirius rises in the southeast, arcs across the southern sky, and sets in the southwest. In December, you'll find Sirius rising in mid-evening. By mid-April, Sirius is setting in the southwest in mid-evening.

The star is blue and white, but it's sometimes called the rainbow star because it appears to flicker with several colors.

If you want to bring out the telescope, the position of Sirius is RA: 06h 45m 08.9s, dec:-16° 42′ 58″.

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