Yesterday I got up at about 4:45 and wandered outside to look for Orion. Orion is walking during the day now, so if I want to get a look at him, I have to watch him mount the sky just ahead of the sun. Not to mention, the way things are heating up around here, I like to get out there and get right back in the house.
The sun was already lighting the sky, but I got out just in time to notice an unusually bright, sparkling red star hanging low in the Southeast. I thought it was Betelguese, but apparently it was Sirius – one of Orion’s dogs, following faithfully at his heel as he tromps out into the day.
This is what I have always thought of “Dog Days” – Orion and his dogs are out in the daytime.
It means a little more than that to astronomers. Tomorrow, July 23, Sirius should be rising precisely with the sun. Orion will disappear from the night sky altogether for a couple of months. I will look for him again some October night.
In the book, “Sounder,” the boy’s mother tells him that Dog Days make dogs go crazy with the heat. Of course it’s good to watch out for your dogs in these triple digit days, make sure they have some shady shelter, a big dish or pool of water. I wouldn’t take my dogs out after 9 am – the ground gets hot, and your dogs release heat through their mouth/nose and the pads of their feet, so if they are walking on a hot sidewalk or even hot ground, they will have a hard time staying cool. When night time lows are staying over 65, you will notice, the ground does not cool off, even after the sun goes down. Be careful out there with your four-legged friends.
Local weather men are predicting one heck of a heat wave starting this weekend. Chico News 24 brings in a lukewarm forecast of 103, while Mike Kruger over at Ch 7 says Chico will hit 107 by next Tuesday – ooo – 110 in Redding! Red Hot Redding!
I think it’s probably a good idea to get ready for 110, and then try to look disappointed when it only hits 105.