This February added another day to synchronize the calendar with the planet’s orbit. Learn about the changes that occurred throughout history.
One of the most common queries on Google these days is why 2020 is a leap year? , that is, this year there will be one more day on the calendar.
How often it happens and why Google today honors it with a Doodle
Today February 29 Google pays tribute to leap years . But why? And what does the year extend to 366 days instead of the traditional 365?
The answer is given by the field of astronomy : one more day is added to “synchronize the calendar with the planet’s orbit,” explained astronomer Romina Miculán of the National University of La Plata (UNLP) and a researcher at the Council National of Scientific and Technical Research ( Conicet ).
The tropic year then has 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.25 seconds,” the astronomer said. which was agreed upon is to add one day every four years to compensate for the almost six hours lost each year in the measure of chronological and astronomical time, given by the terrestrial orbital movement. “
What is the origin of a leap year
Going back in history, you have to go back to 46 BC to trace the origin of the leap year . Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome decided to adjust the calendar when turning from the heavens. Advised by Sos Origen an astronomer from Alexandria, he concluded that the year had no 365 days, but 365 days and a quarter.
Then, every four years I was going to miss one day . That’s why he added a day after the sixth day of the March calendar (last week of February). From there came the name bisextus, given the year in which February touches 29 days, a name that, in Castilian, derived from leap .
But the calculation that Sosíos had made sinned very little. Because the surplus of each year did not arrive at six hours (a quarter of a day). He rounded up and complicated everything.
The apparently small difference between rounding in 365.25 days and the astronomical year of 365,242 days translated into almost 12 minutes per year.. It caused an accumulation of 10 days when the 16th century of the current era arrived. Then, Pope Gregory XIII decided to start the account again.
Leap year 2020
That calendar, inaugurated in 1582, is named Gregorian and is the one that currently rules. He suppressed the remaining ten days and established that, to compensate for future differences the years corresponding to each end of the century would not be leap except for those divisible by 400, such as 2000. That is why the year of the millennium change was leap.
What is a leap year
Beyond the scientific explanations, people born on February 29 have their strategies to celebrate their birthdays. Like Benjamin Kapustiansky, a teenager who will turn 12 in 2020 and was born on February 29, 2008.
“The truth is that I feel that I am celebrating every four years. I celebrate every year, but I feel that I meet every four, ”he said.
Beyond birthdays and beliefs about the good or bad luck of leap years, at the scientific level “it does not affect us, since in astronomy we handle different time scales,” said Miculán.
The scientist stressed that the new year brings, for now, two astronomical phenomena : the solar eclipse that can be seen on December 14 in Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and in the adjacent oceans, and “one possible supernova, “he explained.
A supernova “is an explosion of stars. We are now observing Betelgeuse, located in the constellation Orion which is the brightest ninth star that would be dying out. That is, we may see the death of a star.”