Today is “Leap Day”. But why do we really need February 29th on the calendar this year? The answer is partly in our man-made calendar and partly in the way the earth moves.
It goes around the sun once in 365 and almost a quarter day. The Leap Year dates back to Julius Caesar and the Romans dealing with the Spring and Fall equinoxes. Without an extra day every four years, the seasons would gradually shift and after enough time, throw our calendar off.
“We are the only creatures on the planet who really have a need to know about exactly what time it is. From not only a day-to-day point of view, but in our society today, we need to know time down to these incredibly tiny fractions of a second,” said Geoff Chester with the U.S. Naval Observatory.
2012 will actually be longer than a typical Leap year because an extra second of time will be added on June 30 to sync atomic clocks with the Earth’s rotation.