10 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About Leap Day
2016 is a leap year because we add an extra day to the year to sync up with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. The month of February will have 29 days this year, and February 29 is Leap Day.
Leap Days are added to the calendar about every four years – the last occurred on February 29, 2012 – because the Earth actually takes slightly longer than 365 days to circle the sun. More specifically, it takes our planet approximately 365.242189 days – 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to make a complete revolution. This is why we have 365 days in our calendar.
The full rotation – decimals included – is called a tropical year. It’s also known as a solar year, astronomical year, or an equinoctial year.
The problem is that those extra hours, minutes, and seconds – the ones that are part of the decimal on the end of the tropical year – add up over time. If we didn’t include a leap day every four years, we would lose nearly six hours each year. It would add up to a total of 24 days in a span of 100 years. Over time, our calendar wouldn’t match up correctly and things would get a little weird.
So, we introduce a leap day just about every four years to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolution around the sun.
As you can see, the concept of a Leap Day – or leap year – is quite interesting! So much, that we put together an infographic highlighting some of the more interesting facts associated with it.
Check it out! Please remember to share when you’re done!
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Everything You Wanted To Know About Leap Day