Monday, February 29, 2016
Leap Year 2016 is finally here!
Why do we have it?
An extra day is added to the end of February every four years because of the Gregorian calendar's disparity with the solar system.
What does that mean exactly?
Well, a complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days to complete, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days, so leap years are added as a means to keep our clocks (and calendars) in sync with the Earth and its seasons. And since an earth year is not exactly 265.25 days long, Pope Gregory XIII's astronomers decided to lose three days every 400 years when they introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582. The math has worked ever since, but the system will need to be rethought in about 10,000 years' time, so we've still got a while!
Why does the extra day fall in February?
Apparently this is because February lost out to the ego of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus! Under his predecessor Julius Caesar, February had 30 days and the month named after him (July) had 31 days, August had only 29 days. So when Caesar Augustus became Emperor he added two days to 'his' month to make August the same as July.
Technically, a leap year isn't every four years! What?
There's a leap year every year that is divisible by four, except for years that are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400. The added rule about centuries (versus just every four years) was an additional fix to make up for the fact that an extra day every four years is too much of a correction.
What if you're born on February 29?
Well, the chances of having a leap birthday are 1 in 1,461. People who are born on February 29 are referred to as "leaplings", or "leapers". About 4.1 million people around the world have been born on the 29th.
And one last fun fact! Frogs are the official mascots for leap year and leap day. Maybe because they leap so much!
Do we have any leaplings or leapers out there?!
We hope you enjoyed these fun facts! Here is where we found them:
Check out more pictures from today by clicking on the link below!