Sunday through Saturday, July 10-17, 2022—Dog Days of Summer

With an abrupt end to spring in early June, temperatures in the central US have been hot—record setting hot! Consequently, Kay and I have stayed indoors except to venture out for the occasional golf and pickleball games. There is not much to report in this particular blog entry. It’s almost too hot to take pictures of butterflies and dragonflies, though our back yard offered a quick photography fix on Thursday and Saturday. Thursday’s butterflies included Southern Cloudywings, Delaware Skippers, and Fiery Skippers as shown below.

Thursday’s dragonflies included Common Green Darners, Eastern Amberwings, Blue Dashers, Slaty Skippers, Widow Skimmers, and Eastern Pondhawks.

Saturday’s quick jaunt in the backyard revealed only one butterfly, a Southern Cloudywing.

Southern Cloudywing

A few dragonflies were observed, but appeared as if they had seen better times; thus, no photos. However, one damselfly made it in the mix, a Variable Dancer (this one is less than an inch long.

Variable Dancer

And And, it seems like this is the period known as the Dog Days of Summer. From the FARMER’S ALMANAC. “The “Dog Days” of summer are from July 3 to August 11 each year. They’re usually the hottest and most unbearable days of the season. We often hear about the “Dog Days” of summer, but few know where the expression originated. Some think it’s a reference to the hot, sultry days that are “not fit for a dog.” Others suggest it’s the time of year when the extreme heat drives dogs mad. But where does the term come from? And what does it have to do with dogs? You may be surprised to see is has to do with the stars!

The phrase is a reference to Sirius, the Dog Star. During the “Dog Days” period, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Sirius is a part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”

Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11 each year.

While this period usually is the hottest stretch of summer, the heat is not due to any added radiation from Sirius, regardless of its brightness. The heat of summer is simply a direct result of the Earth’s tilt.

During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the tilt of the Earth causes the Sun’s rays to hit at a more direct angle, and for a longer period of time throughout the day. This means longer, hotter days.”