Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

Its hot here - too hot to do much outside.  I woke early and took my dogs for a cool walk well before dawn.  Venus and Jupiter shone brightly beside the waning moon in the Eastern sky.  I watched for meteors.  I looked for Sirius - the Dog Star.  Sirius is called the Dog Star because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (greater dog).  I looked for it because it is not visible in winter and spring, and reappears just at the time of the summer solstice.   At one time, the Egyptians based their calendar on the reappearance of Sirius which was also the time of the annual flooding of the Nile.  The Romans believed that Sirius was responsible for extreme heat, and sacrificed a brown dog during the days when Sirius rose just before dawn.   Throughout the Northern hemisphere the appearance of Sirius is associated with hot sultry weather.  We are in the dog days for sure.  My dogs move from shadow to shade searching for something cool to lie on.  Soon enough it will be windy and cold.  We will wish for sunshine.

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