Jonas Trepanier reporting for the Researcher
Happy February 29th Raptors, today we shall delve deep into the odd and interesting history of the 366th day of the year. I will explain to you all about the odd calendar system we have and how it came to be, and how that all came together to give us a leap day.
The leap year exists to take into account the inaccuracies of our year. We view the year as 365 days, while in actuality it takes approximately 365.2421 days for the earth to finish its rotation around the sun. This fact caused calendars to be rewritten to be more accurate and reliable. Actually the Egyptians were the first people to realize that it took 365.2421 days to orbit the sun, and to understand the need for a leap day.
The first people to put the leap year into practice were the Romans. The Romans had used a muddled lunar calendar for many years until 46 B.C.E. when Julius Caesar and astronomer Sosigenes created the Julian Calendar. The Julian Calendar accounted for twelve months and had 365 day years; they also had a leap day that occurred every 4 years. The problem was that the calendar added approximately 11 extra minutes at the end of every year. This meant that about every 128 days, the Romans would drift off by one day.
By the 14th century, the calendar was ten days ahead of the actual time and date. This caused Pope Gregory XIII to create a revised calendar known as the “Gregorian Calendar.” In this model, leap years occur every four years except for years evenly divisible by 100 and not by 400. An example of this being the year 1700, where it is divisible by one hundred, but not four hundred. This calendar remains in use today, with slight alterations; but it is not perfect. Scientists estimate that in 10,000 years the calendar will have to be updated again, in order to remain accurate.
Here are some fun facts about the Leap Year