Happy leap day!

It only comes around every four years, so we may as well cel­e­brate it.

Col­lege of Sci­ences dean, Murray Gibson, gives a little more insight about the point of this awe­some bonus day, why we need it, and where it came from in a 3Qs on the News@Northeastern today.

Since the two phe­nomena that define a year (one rota­tion of the earth around the sun) and 365 days (365 rota­tions of the earth around its axis) don’t match up per­fectly in time, we need a way to account for the difference.

There’s also a lesser known factor called the leap second which takes care of slight dif­fer­ences in the atomic clock.

Imagine what the world would be like even­tu­ally without leap day. In a hun­dred years noon would be the middle of the night and we’d be get­ting out of work as the sun rises. Without the leap second though, changes like that would take sev­eral millenia.

 

Photo: Camera Eye Pho­tog­raphy, “Week #6 “Leap” [6of52]” Feb­ruary 9, 2012 via Flickr, Cre­ative Com­mons Attribution