Ever wondered why every four years, we get an extra day in February? This year, February will be 29 days long, instead of the usual 28. But why is there a Leap Year? Well, I did some digging to find out!
Our calendar system is close to perfect, but not completely. We need leap years to keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar in alignment with Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. The Gregorian calendar, used by most of the world today, was named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582. This new calendar replaced the Julian one to stop the drift of the calendar with respect to the equinoxes
Without leap days, our calendar would be off by 1 day every 4 years. In fact, we lose almost 6 hours every single year, and after 100 years that would result in about 24 days lost!
According to Timeanddate.com, it takes Earth approximately 365.242189 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds, to circle once around the Sun. This full orbit of Earth around the Sun is known as a tropical year. And our whole calendar system is based and measured around it.
So next time you wonder why calendars work the way they do, just know it follows the Earth’s revolutions, and everything has a purpose.
How will you spend your extra day this Leap Year?
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