FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 8, 2013) -- Have you ever wondered why people call the period between early July and early September, when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere, Dog Days?

It's a period of stagnation or inactivity in our weather pattern, but why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer Dog Days?

According to an article by Jerry Wilson, he explains it this way.

In ancient times, when the night sky was not obscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by "connecting the dots" of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: the Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans.

These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors. They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor).

The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the Earth received heat from it. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.

In the summer, however, Sirius, the dog star, rises and sets with the sun. During late July, Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, Dog Days, after the dog star.

The conjunction of Sirius with the sun varies somewhat with latitude. And the "precession of the equinoxes" (a gradual drifting of the constellations over time) means that the constellations today are not in exactly the same place in the sky as they were in ancient Rome. Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and Aug. 11. Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness.

So, what does all this have to do with you and ACAP? Well, just as the tilt of the Earth, at different times of the year, produces a different weather pattern -- usually periods of inactivity -- some people get lazy, and choose swimming holes and backyard barbecues over their job searches.

This is not an option for the successful job seeker, regardless of the season. Until you find the right job for you, you must continue to put forth all effort necessary to find it.

The ACAP Center has all the resources necessary to help you put forth your best job search effort. Additionally, trained ACAP career counselors can help motivate you to that end.

For just as the heavens hold countless stars, one usually appears brighter than all the others. So it is with jobs. The job seeker has to be able to look at all the jobs available and then choose the one that stands out as the brightest for him or her. ACAP can help you locate and reach your Dog Star.

Epictetus, an ancient philosopher, said it best when he said, "first say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do."

For more information on how ACAP can help you with your job search, call the center at 255-2558.

Page last updated Thu August 8th, 2013 at 12:38