Why do we have leap years? Here's the science behind that strange extra day.
February 23, 2016 - Uncategorized
Most of the time, a year is made up of 365 days. But 2016, just like 2012, and the year four years before that, has 366. And that vital extra day, a leap day, is (partly) what keeps our calendars in working order.
As users of a solar calendar, we rely on the sun to tell us how long a year is and when each of the four seasons begins. It was devised to match our farming habits and as a reliable — and visible — guide to the passing of time. The sun’s position on the horizon as it rises and sets moves over the course of a year, further south in the winter, and further north in the summer. This significant change is used to mark midwinter or midsummer at famous locations such as Stonehenge and New Grange. Read more…