Have you ever noticed that every four years, February gets an extra day? That’s because it’s a leap year and it’s happening in 2024! A leap year is a year that contains an extra day, making it 366 days instead of the usual 365. This extra day is added to the month of February, making it 29 days instead of the usual 28.
The reason behind leap years lies in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. It takes Earth 365.242190 days to orbit the Sun, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 56 seconds. To keep our calendars in sync with the Earth’s orbit, we add an extra day to the calendar every four years. If we didn’t account for this, our seasons would eventually drift.
The concept of leap years dates back to ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians and the Romans, who noticed discrepancies between the solar year and their calendars. Over time, various calendars were developed to account for this difference, leading to the adoption of the leap year system that we use today.
So, the next time you see February 29th on your calendar, remember the story behind it and marvel at the wonders of our universe. Happy leaping!
Read more about The Science of the Leap Year here.