dog days


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dog days,

name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunctionconjunction,
in astronomy, alignment of two celestial bodies as seen from the earth. Conjunction of the moon and the planets is often determined by reference to the sun.
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 of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun. In the latitude of the Mediterranean region this period coincided with hot days that were plagued with disease and discomfort. The time of conjunction varies with difference in latitude, and because of the precession of the equinoxesprecession of the equinoxes,
westward motion of the equinoxes along the ecliptic. This motion was first noted by Hipparchus c.120 B.C. The precession is due to the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun on the equatorial bulge of the earth, which causes the earth's axis to
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 it changes gradually over long periods in all latitudes.
Enlarge picture
An antique garnet gem showing a dog surrounded by solar ray, based on Roman superstition relating to the “dog days” between July 3 and August 11, when warm weather was thought to be caused by the rising and setting of the dog star, Sirius. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.

Dog Days

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Dog days are a 40-day period, usually given as July 3 to August 11, that is regarded as being the hottest time of the year. This period was originally calculated from the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, after which dog days received its name.

dog days

[′dȯg ‚dāz]
(climatology)
The period of greatest heat in summer.

Dog Days

July 3-August 11
The Dog Days are known as the hottest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and usually occur in July and early August. In ancient times, the sultry weather in Rome during these months often made people sick, and they blamed their illnesses on the fact that this was the time of year when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose at about the same time as the sun. Because Sirius was the brightest star, it was thought to add its heat to the sun, producing hot, unhealthy weather. The ancients used to sacrifice a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius.
Although there are many different ways of calculating which days in any given year are the dog days, and how long they last, it is impossible to be precise. Nowadays it is generally assumed that they fall between July 3 and August 11—slightly later than they occurred in ancient times.
Because of their association with the Dog Star, various beliefs have sprung up involving the behavior of dogs during this period. In the 16th century it was believed that dogs went mad during the Dog Star season. Another name for this time of year, the canicular days, comes from the Latin word canis meaning "dog."
SOURCES:
BkDays-1864, vol. II, p. 5
DictDays-1988, p. 32
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 918
OxYear-1999, p. 595
(c)
References in periodicals archive ?
Today's man and woman need to experience more of the dog days to recover and benefit from a simpler way of life.
That mix allows Dog Days to present shows featuring characters of varied ages--something harder to do during the regular season, when 20-something students would have to be charged with portraying characters in their 50s or 60s.
The dog days are summer's intermission: distinctly removed from June graduations and July fireworks, yet reminders that we're not quite ready to let go and embrace the stuff to come: football, school and an Aug.
Markets have slumbered deeply during the dog days of August.
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The following story is excerpted from "Dog Day Adventures,'' by Dorothy Massalski:
While I had always liked Sidney Lwnet's 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon, it was a 2 channel art installation by French artist Pierre Huyghe called "The Third Memory" (1999) screened at the Guggenheim NY's "Moving Pictures" in 2002 that prompted me to delve more deeply into the real-life character/caricature called John Wojtowicz, the (nominal) subject of these three iterations of the particular moment in his life which propelled him to celebrity status.
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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - 8.2 million dollars ( ANI )
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS (U) CAST: Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Peyton List PLOT: During his latest summer vacation, the 'Wimpy Kid' Greg Heffley (Gordon) is besotted with blonde classmate Holly Hills (List).
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To celebrate the release of movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days we've got together with Puffin books to give kids another hilarious book from the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself.