EXTENSION CONNECTION: Dog days are a good time to plant for fall

Published: Monday, July 21, 2014 at 07:31 PM.

The “dog days” — summer's hottest, muggiest days — usually fall between early July and early September in the northern hemisphere.

The actual dates vary from region to region, depending on latitude and climate.

In ancient times, when artificial lights didn't obscure the night sky, the Romans tracked seasons with stars.

The brightest constellation, Canis Major (Large Dog), includes the “dog star," Sirius. In the summer, Sirius used to rise and set with the sun, leading the Romans to believe it added heat to the sun.

Although the period between July 3 and Aug. 11 is typically summer's warmest period, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness.

The heat of summer is a direct result of the earth’s tilt.

Spending time outdoors this time of year is uncomfortable, potentially dangerous, due to the intense heat.

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