Leap Year!

We all know what a leap year is.  In fact, this year was a leap year.  During these years there are 29 days in the month of February.  But why is there a leap year?

Well, because it takes Earth roughly 365 and ¼ days to make its orbit around the sun.

The practice of adding a leap year to the calendar was begun by the Romans during the time of Julius Caesar.  This is what we know as the Julian Calendar.

But remember, I said it takes the Earth roughly 365 and ¼ days to orbit the sun.  The actual calculation is 365.2421 days.  This allows for a one day discrepancy every 128 years.

Fast forward to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII enacted a new calendar, which of course is the Gregorian Calendar.

In 1582, to account for the surplus days the Julian Calendar had added to the year, 10 whole days were removed from the year.  It was February 20th one day and March 2ndthe next.

The way the calendar works is like this: Every four years there will be a leap year, except every 400th year will not be a leap year.  So the year 1900 was a leap year, but the year 2000, in case you missed it, was not.

If your still wondering about the .0021 of a day- don’t worry.  In another 10,000 years they’ll account for that day as well.

 

References

http://www.timeanddate.com/date/leapyear.html

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/why-do-we-have-leap-year

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s