Friday, February 24, 2012


What's going on in February this year? Why is the month of March one whole day further back than I'm used to??

Well, for the answer to that we'll have to turn to our old friend, Math!

The Earth's orbit around the sun is 365 days, kinda. Though we count it as 365 in reality each year yields a little extra time. The actual time it takes the Earth to orbit the sun is 365.25 days a year (yielding a surplus quarter of a day at the end of the year). So, the Gregorian calendar, the one we use, came up with a very simple but effective solution...everytime we hit the 4th quarter day (every 4 years) we add a 'Leap Day'! 4 quarter days = 1 full day, right?

There's some other pretty amazing math that goes into Leap Day too!

For example:
Years that are divisible by 100 can NOT be leap years, however years divisible by 400 CAN be leap years...So, 2100, 2200, 2300 will not be leap years, however 2400 and 2800 will be leap years!

Also, in the span of 2 millennia we will only have a total of 485 leap years! Which makes this year pretty special.
So, be sure to enjoy the extra day...after all, its the hoppiest day of the year!

For more leap day info check this out Leap Day Wiki page
Anything ever happen on a Leap Day? Leap Day history
Are you born on a leap day? Well, you're in good company! Leap Day B-Days!

1 comment:

Science Mom said...

Thanks so much for this post. I have a science blog in Idaho, and I wanted families to have a fun description of the science behind the day, and this is perfect.