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Monday, February 29, 2016

A leap year is when an extra day is added to the end of February to make up for the Earth's peskily inexact orbit around the sun.

A complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days to complete, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days.

So every four years an extra day is added to make up for the Gregorian calendar's disparity with the solar system.

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Today's Random Fact:

The Roman calendar used to have 355 days with an extra 22-day month every two years until Julius Caesar became emperor in the 1st Century and ordered his Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes to devise something better.

Sosigenes decided on a 365-day year with an extra day every four years to incorporate the extra hours, and so February 29th was born.


Bonus Fact:

In addition to leap days there are also leap seconds. A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time, or UT1. Without such a correction, time reckoned by Earth's rotation drifts away from atomic time because of irregularities in the Earth's rate of rotation.

Since this system of correction was implemented in 1972, 26 leap seconds have been inserted.

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