Once again, we enter the Dog Days of summer. These 40 days of especially hot and humid weather often have little rainfall, but here in the Paradelle Northeast of the U.S. we have been getting a lot of rain with our 90+ degree days and humidity.
The ancient Greeks believed that Sirius, the “dog star” was rising with the Sun at this time was adding to the Sun’s heat. After all, since Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, they assumed it would be a second Sun and give off heat like our nearest star.
Sirius is called the Dog Star because it’s part of the constellation Canis Major (Greater Dog). Sirius means sparkling or scorching which is certainly what it seemed like to early astronomers. Sirius is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star.
Those ancients also believed that the weather made dogs go mad. The Romans unfortunately tried to appease Sirius by sacrificing a brown dog at the start of the Dog Days.
Ancient Egyptians saw this time of Sirius arriving with the Sun as the beginning of the Nile’s flooding season. It was also their time for New Year celebrations.
“Dog Days” has become in modern times a term for any period of stagnation or inactivity. Wall Street marks this period as a generally slow and sluggish time for the markets (though earnings do create some heat).