Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Science of Leap Day
Leap day is actually an overcorrection.
Happy leap day! Every four years we get an extra day to correct for the fact it takes Earth 365.25 days to go around the Sun. What you may not know is that the extra day overcorrects for the problem, so every 100 years we skip the leap day. To further complicate things, every 400 years we don’t skip the leap day, to correct for overcorrection in the opposite direction. Sounds confusing? In the video above, America’s favorite scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, does a much better job at explaining the various corrections and overcorrections that keep the calendar in line with Earth’s journey around the Sun.
Leap day facts:
-- In Ireland, February 29 is called Bachelor’s Day; traditionally, it’s the one day when women are allowed to propose to men.
-- The chances of being born on leap day are one in 1,461.
-- Many couples in Greece avoid being married in a leap year because they believe it’s bad luck.
-- Leap year began when Julius Caesar ordered his astronomer, Sosigenes, to simplify the calendar. The Julian calendar took effect in 45 B.C.