MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Are “The Dog Days Of Summer”?

Summer 2021 officially begins on Sunday, July 20th. It won’t be long after that you’ll be hearing folks say, “Well, we’re in ‘the dog days of summer’ now”. But what does that really even mean? What do dogs have to do with summer? When do their days begin, and, more importantly, when do they end?

“The dog days of summer” isn’t just some expression, it’s a sort of micro-season. The official “dog days” of summer this year begin on Saturday, July 3, and end on Wednesday, August 11. So how did this time frame earn its canine nickname? Well, it turns out the phrase has nothing to do with the poor pups who are forever seeking shade from the summer sun. Instead, it has everything to do with the nighttime sky.

Sirius, the Dog Star, is the brightest star in the sky that’s visible from Earth. The ancient Greeks noticed that, in the summer months, Sirius rose & set with the Sun, in the same region of the sky. So they theorized that it was the bright, glowing Dog Star that was adding the extra heat to the Earth in July & August.

So please don’t blame the dogs for how warm things get this summer, it’s not their fault. But do help keep them as cool as you can.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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