What Are The 'Dog Days Of Summer?'

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - You've likely heard the term refer to our hottest summer days, but the term actually originated in southern Europe.

Way back in the ancient days, observers along the Mediterranean Sea used to follow Sirius, which is the brightest star in the nighttime sky and part of the constellation known as "The Big Dog" (when translated to English.) Thus, it was known as "the dog star."

On July 23, the star rises and sets with the sun, and the ancients believed the star was so bright, it gave off heat and added to the sun's warmth to make the days even hotter. Thus, the term "Dog Days of Summer" came to mean the 20 days before and after this alignment -- July 3 to Aug. 11.

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