Word of the Day

Right ascension

The celestial longitude of an object in the sky, measured eastward along the celestial equator in hours of time from the vernal equinox; analogous to longitude on Earth.

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Last 7 Days

Cat Nights

This term harks back to the days when people believed in witches. An old Irish legend says that a witch could turn into a cat and regain herself eight times, but on the ninth time, August 17, she couldn’t change back, hence the saying: "A cat has nine lives." Because August is a "yowly" time for cats, this may have prompted the speculation about witches on the prowl in the first place.

Rupophobia

Fear of dirt

Dog Days

These are the hottest and most unhealthy days of the year. Also known as Canicular Days, the name derives from the Dog Star, Sirius. The traditional timing of Dog Days is the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the heliacal (at sunrise) rising of Sirius.

Thermophobia

The fear of heat

Julian period

A period of 7,980 years beginning January 1, 4713 b.c. Devised in 1583 by Joseph Scaliger, it provides a chronological basis for the study of ancient history. To find the Julian year, add 4,713 to any year.

Navvy

Originally, a laborer on canals for internal navigation; hence, a laborer on other public works, as in building railroads, embankments, etc.

March

Named for the Roman god of war, Mars. This was the time of year to resume military campaigns that had been interrupted by winter.

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