Leap Year Day 2016

Image Source: Pixabay.com

In case you have not heard, today is Leap Year Day! Almost every 4 years we get the chance to celebrate this day! Why do you ask? It takes some understanding of our solar system and time to figure out why a leap day exists.

The way we measure time on Earth is a bit complicated. Years are measured by the length of time it takes our planet to orbit the sun. We call this a “solar”  year.  The precise measure of a solar year is 365.24219 days. Those numbers at the end of the decimal point add up. Without any sort of adjustment for the extra quarter of a day, seasons as we know them would eventually become very different. Winter would feel like summer and Summer would feel like Winter! 

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian calendar and introduced the century rule.

“If a leap year falls on a century, a year ending in double zeroes, you only add a leap day if it’s divisible by 400,” physicist Judah Levine, a man the Washington Post once dubbed “the nation’s timekeeper” says. “For that reason 1900 wasn’t a leap year but 2000 was.” 

In 2100, we’ll skip it again, forcing leap babies to wait a total of eight years to celebrate their birthday. 

According to the rules set forth in the Gregorian calendar leap years have occurred or will occur during the following years:

Notice that 2000 was a leap year because it is divisible 400, but that 1900 was not a leap year.

One of the biggest debates among leap babies is which date they celebrate their birthdays during off years!  Some opt for Feb. 28, saying the last day of February is most accurate, while others insist March 1 is more correct because they were born the day following Feb. 28. Then there’s the camp that believes time of day is the determining factor—if you were born in the morning, the 28th is yours, but if you were delivered past noon, it’s the 1st. 
Hope all you Leap Babies have a wonderful day today!

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