Leap Year 2012
February 29, 2012
What are you doing with your extra 24 hours?
Leap Year doesn’t come around often, so make sure to do to it up big by coming in and sharing the day with us. It is a science day after all. It’s basis is in the planetary rotation, which means that inherently it’s a science thing. So what better place to spend it than at Imagination Station.
Happy Birthday Leap Year Babies!
We’re inviting everyone whose birthday is February 29, to visit the science center for FREE that day! Since there aren’t that many of you out there, you’ve got to provide the proof. Drivers license, birth certificate, some other creative way – however you can prove that you are one of the unique 4.8 million Leap Year babies in the world. Seems like a big number, but when you figure that the rest of us born on the other 365 days of the year have more than 19 million people born on our birthday, makes you even more special, right?
It’s a birthday celebration!
Even better – we’ll be making birthday hats and celebrating the uniqueness of your day with liquid nitrogen ice cream. So take the day off of work and enjoy your special day taking in the science and enjoying instant ice cream.
About Leap Year
A leap year consists of 366 days, as opposed to a common year which has 365 days.
During Leap Years, we add a Leap Day, an extra – or intercalary – day on February 29. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.
Why do we need Leap Years?
Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun.
It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days (a tropical year) to circle once around the Sun.
However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn’t add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days!
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.
Who invented Leap Years?
Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years in the Roman empire over 2000 years ago, but the Julian calendar had only one rule: any year evenly divisible by 4 would be a leap year. This lead to way too many leap years, but didn’t get corrected until the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar more than 1500 years later.
Information from www.timeanddate.com