If we didn’t have leap years, our seasons wouldn’t be correct and in synch. The reason is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Our calendars use a precise 365 days when, in fact, the Earth takes approximately 365.242199 days to travel around the sun. In addition, the time it takes Earth to revolve once, which we call a day, is not exactly 24 hours—but closer to 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds.
Every four years, the extra time is added as February 29th.
Last June, according to NASA, we were given an extra leap second to account for the gradual slowing of the Earth’s rotation due to the gravitational war among the Earth, moon and sun. NASA explains that a day lasts 86,400 seconds, but the mean solar day – the average length of a day, based on how long it takes Earth to rotate – is about 86,400.002 seconds long.
So, enjoy the extra day the Earth and sun has given you!
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