Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February
Our obsession with strange dates continues with the 29 February. The oddity that appears every four years*, allowing our calendars to match up with the earth’s orbit.
Here are three interesting bits of information on this special day:
1. Why the extra day?
The leap year’s extra day is necessary because of the “messiness” of our Solar System. One Earth year (a complete orbit around the Sun) does not take an exact number of whole days (one complete spin of the Earth on its axis). In fact, it takes 365.2422 days, give or take.
Source: BBC Magazine
2. How do we calculate Leap Years?
In the Gregorian calendar 3 criteria must be met to be a leap year:
The year is evenly divisible by 4;
If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless;
The year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.
This means that 2000 and 2400 are leap years, while 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are NOT leap years.
The year 2000 was somewhat special as it was the first instance when the third criterion was used in most parts of the world since the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar.
Source: Time And Date
3. Any famous birthdays?
A person who is born on February 29 may be called a “leapling” or a “leap year baby”. In non-leap years, some leaplings celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1, while others only observe birthdays on the authentic intercalary dates.
In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, a person born on February 29 legally attains the age of 18 on March 1 in the relevant year.
Happy Leap Year Day!
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