Weathermen often refer to this time of year as "the Dog Days of Summer" but few people understand the meaning of the phrase. Allow me to explain it and provide you with a little visual humor as well.
The dog days of summer” occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season. Webster defines “dog days” as...
1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere
2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity
As to where the phrase originated we have to go back to the Roman Empire and even much earlier.
In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by“connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.
They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor).
The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.
In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star. http://wilstar.com/dogdays.htm
Zipping back to modern days, I would like to share with you how real dogs have found a way to enjoy and / or survive the "dog days of summer" . Enjoy!