PROGRES.ID – Let’s delve deeper into the history of leap years and understand why the year 2024 will have a slightly different number of days.
The global calendar system has an intriguing phenomenon known as a Leap Year.
Every four years, we witness a rare event where an extra day is added to the month of February, making it 29 days.
This uniqueness stems from the fact that the Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the Sun.
To adjust for this imbalance, an extra day is inserted into the calendar every four years, making that year 366 days long.
Now, the question is, how many days are there in the year 2024? That year will be a leap year, hence having a total of 366 days.
The term ‘leap year’ originates from Latin, ‘bis sextus dies ante calendas martii,’ which can be translated as ‘repeating the sixth day before the first day of March.
This name is associated with the uniqueness of February as the shortest month in the calendar, with either 28 or 29 days depending on the year.
The history of leap years can be traced back to ancient Rome, where the initial calendar had only ten months.
January and February were added later to synchronize the work time.
However, this history accounted for a year of 304 days. King Numa Pompilius then added two new months, making the year 354 days long.
Subsequently, Julius Caesar made significant changes to the calendar. He designated January as the first month, reduced February to 28 days, and created a 365-day calendar.
This calendar year became known as ‘common years,’ aligning with the time Earth takes to complete one orbit around the Sun. However, 365 is an approximation, whereas Earth actually requires 365.242190 days to complete its orbit.
In an attempt to synchronize the calendar with a more accurate time calculation, humans decided to add an extra day every four years.
Although this seemed sufficient, more accurate calculations revealed that in four years, the difference between the calendar year and the actual sidereal year was not 24 hours, but 23.262222 hours.
By adding a leap day every four years, we actually make the calendar longer by 44 minutes.
However, to ensure calendar stability, we also consider non-century years, i.e., multiples of 400. Therefore, not every four years is a leap year.
For example, the year 2000 was a leap year because it is divisible by both 400 and 4.
So, in the year 2024, we will witness a leap year with a total of 366 days, a phenomenon involving a long history and human efforts to align the calendar with the accurate rotation of the Earth.”