Cincinnati’s Dog Days of Summer

August this year in Cincinnati has been warm, or hot (depending on who you ask) with temperatures for the coming week in the upper 80s to the low 90s with mostly sunny skies. It’s what we call “the dog days of summer.”

The Dog Days have nothing to do with panting dogs, and everything to do with the Dog star Sirius—the brightest star in the summer sky. In ancient times, the Egyptians believed that the sun’s heat combined with Sirius’s heat to make August extra hot. They noted that when Sirius the Dog Star rose soon after the summer solstice, summer rains increased and the Nile River rose and flooded the land.

Traditionally, Dog Days of Summer last 40 days from July 3 to August 11, the same time of year that Sirius the Dog Star rises at dawn. Sirius is only 8.6 light years away, so it’s easy to spot on a clear night. It is easily the brightest star in the summer sky and the brightest star in the Constellation Canis Major.

In Greek mythology, the “dog” in Canis Major follows Orion, the great hunter. In art, the dog is often seen chasing a rabbit represented by the constellation Lepus. There’s a small dog depicted in a nearby constellation called Canis Minor. 

You can read the mythological stories behind these stars and constellations here.

To find the Dog in the summer sky, we suggest using or downloading a stargazing app for your mobile phone. Here’s a handy list of the top recommendations for 2019 for both Android and iPhone.

What do the Dog Days of Summer have to do with small business accounting and daily money management? Nothing. Yet knowledge can be fascinating!