Monday, February 29th, 2016 is a leap day. I was curious about the history of the leap year and leap day, so off to Google I went. Of course, Wikipedia had the answer – is there anything they do not know?
The history and science behind the leap year
A leap year(2016), where an extra day is added to the end of February every four years, is down to the solar system’s disparity with the Gregorian calendar. 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 seconds – and leap years – are added as means of keeping our clocks (and calendars) in sync with the Earth and its seasons.
Why is the extra day in February and not another month?
All the other months in the Julian calendar have 30 or 31 days, but 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. August had only 29 days. When Caesar Augustus became Emperor he added two days to ‘his’ month to make August the same as July. So February lost out to August in the battle of the extra days.
Did you know the Summer Olympic games are held on a Leap Year and in Greece, couples avoid getting married in a leap year believing it to be bad luck.
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