SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The hottest portion of the hottest season of the year is upon us, a time we know simply as the dog days of summer.

It’s a phrase that we’ve known for as long as we can remember that’s reserved for those long, hot, hazy summer days that don’t seem to end. The origin of the dog days of summer, however, goes back several centuries and to an entirely different continent.

In the dog days, people look to Sirius, also known as the “Dog Star”…the latter name being given due to how it follows Orion in the eastern night sky. In ancient Greece dating as far back as the 8th Century BC, it was said that the rise of Sirius in summer was a harbinger of many things…from heat, drought, and unexpected thunderstorms to things like lethargy and various diseases. Of course, we now know that Sirius doesn’t cause any of these things to happen. Over time, the definition of the term changed as knowledge grew, and it turned into what we know now.

In modern times, the dog days of summer typically stretch from July 3rd to August 11. This does at least coincide with what is typically our hottest stretch of weather during the year on average…with highs in the mid to upper 80s and lows in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

It’s interesting to see where these old phrases come from and how they’ve evolved over time. One thing’s for sure, though: Staying out too long during the dog days of summer may make you dog tired…so take it easy when things heat up.