Dog Days of Summer By Carmel Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons on July 06, 2023

We have officially entered the dog days of summer which are considered to be from July 3rd to August 11th each year.

Many of you may have wondered where the phrase "the dog days of summer" comes from. The phrase actually dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who would keep track of the seasons by looking up at the sky. The star Sirius was known as the "dog star" because it made up the nose of a constellation shaped like a dog.  Sirius is the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. In ancient times, near the middle to end of July, Sirius would appear in the sky just before the sun.  This event is known as the heliacal rising of Sirius.  It marked the beginning of the very hottest days of the year. The Romans referred to this period as "dies caniculares" or "days of the dog star," which was eventually translated as just "dog days".

For this reason, the dog days of summer each year are considered to be 20 days before and 20 days after the ancient alignment of Sirius with the Sun which occurred roughly around July 23rd. This makes the dog days of summer fall between July 3- August 11 each year.

But the ancient civilizations' predictions don't quite hold true for modern times. That's because Sirius observes a period of almost exactly 365¼ days between risings. That means the heliacal rising of Sirius occurs somewhat later in the year over a span of millennia resulting in Sirius not appearing in the sky at the same time of year as it did back then. Currently, Sirius actually rises for Romans, Athenians, and Hoosiers alike in mid August. {This is true because Romans, Athenians, and Hoosiers all live between 37-40 degrees north latitude.}

Food for day, thousands of years from now, Sirius will rise with the sun during the "dog days of winter."

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Dr. Grasee and Dr. Bergman

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