Most casual observers will think of the North Star as the brightest star, in fact it is Sirius. (The North Star is known for its dependable location in the sky, not its brightness.)
According to Greek mythology, Sirius was the dog of the hunter Orion, and the ancient Romans placed the star in the constellation Canis Major (Latin for “Greater Dog”). The Romans thus referred to the sweltering period when the rising of the sun and Sirius converged as the “dies caniculares” or “days of the dog star.”
By the 1500s, the English world began to call the same summertime point on the astronomical calendar as the “dog days.”
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