Monday, August 17, 2015

Snoop Doggy Daze

As you see from this page of the Farmers' Almanac, which I procure
 every year for free from the Johnson Bros. Funeral Home,
 the dog days ended this year on August 11. 

The “dog days,” I always thought, were those summer days so doggone (I had to!) hot that even dogs would mope about in misery.  And then people would start talking about how dogs sweat through their nose or something.

But since everyone from meteorologists on TV to the guy in the booth at the Gas - It - Up uses the term all day and all August, I decided to look it up and find out what "dog days" means.  I found out that it all comes from the "dog star," Sirius, and its position in the heavens.

The ancient Greeks and Romans would see Sirius seem to rise to just above the sun every year in late July, and since there was no baseball in those days, they had little else to look at anyway.  So there they were, here on earth, while in the heavens, the dog star was up there above the sun and it was hot as all hell.  So a vote was taken and they decided to call the hot summertime "the dog days."  Interestingly, "Wawa Hoagiefest Days" came in second in the vote.

I also learned that the day will come when Sirius will climb over the sun and people down here will be buying rock salt and Christmas lights.  

“Our Earth is like a spinning top,” said Bradley Schaefer, professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University. “If you toss it onto a table, after it slows down … the pointing direction of the top will slowly go around in circles.” Like a top, “the Earth’s rotation is kind of wobbling around.”

“In 26,000 years, the dog days would completely move all around the sky,” said Schaefer. “Roughly 13,000 years from now, Sirius will be rising with the sun in mid-winter.”

So the dog days will occur right around the winter holidays in 13,000 years.  Keith Richards and Betty White will be glad to hear that, I'm sure.

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