February 2020: Leap Day Today!

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Bhubaneswar: The shortest month of the year, February gets the privilege of an ‘extra day’ called leap day in every fourth year.

It’s all because of the Earth’s rotation and the fact that a day isn’t actually an exact 24 hours. Slooh astronomer Bob Berman explained to AccuWeather, that each rotation of Earth takes 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds, to be precise. The orbit around the sun is also imprecise: Earth takes 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to complete a full trip.

The Gregorian calendar, created by Pope Gregory in 1583, factors in the uneven timing by including an extra day in February every four years as a leap year.

However, an extra day every four years is an overcorrection to the calendar, and Pope Gregory accounted for this, too. For every century year, the calendar resets by skipping leap year. Every 400 years, it does not reset and maintains the leap year. The year 2000 was a year that did not reset; therefore, it had an extra day.

Considering that Leap Day comes ones every four years, people across the globe observe the day with quirky traditions, folklore and superstitions.

Any person born on a leap day is known as “leapling”. The Guinness Book of Records states that there are Leap Day World Record Holders both of same family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29.

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