ORLANDO, Fla. – No one understands the dog days of summer like Central Florida. The dog days typically signify the hottest stretch of the year, but how did they come to be?
The phrase has nothing to do with dogs on Earth, but rather a dog in the sky. Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, is part of the constellation Canis Major or the Greater Dog. During the summer, Sirius, the dog star, rises with our sun.
The Romans, because Sirius is so bright, thought its heat reinforced the sun's heat. In reality, Sirius has nothing to do with why this is our hottest period, but it does have everything to do with why these are coined the dog days of summer.
When Are They?
The Romans were on to something. The actual dog days of summer is the period 20 days before and after Sirius is aligned with the sun, July 3 to Aug. 11.
The hottest period for Central Florida, on average, is from July 10 to Aug. 20. That is when the high temperature and low temperature average are at their highest.
The Earth being tilted toward our own sun during this time is the actual reason this is the hottest stretch of the year.