round and round...

Friday, February 29, 2008

I do not follow rules

Today, Feb. 29, is supposed to be the only "day off" from blogging in 2008 according to the rules of Blog 365. All participants are allowed this one freebie to rest our brains and fingers. But, you know me, I'm not a rules kind of girl (which is why I'm such an awful baker - because it is almost impossible for me to be disciplined enough to follow a recipe), so I'm taking this opportunity to blog anyway. Why? Masochism? Self-loathing? Nah. Just got the itch, so I'm going to scratch it. *scratch, scratch*

So, today is Leap Day. The day that only comes every 4 years. Actually, if we're being totally scientifically nerdy about it, Leap Day is a day that doesn't just come every 4 years. It's much more gradual and constant that that. It's not like the universe just decides to add a day every 4th year. It's more accurate to say that in our 365 day calendar we lose .2422 days each year and Leap Day is how we make up for lost time. Why do we need to make up for lost time anyway?

Well, our calendar is based on a tropical year (a.k.a. solar year), which is the time between 2 vernal equinoxes. What the hell is a vernal equinox? The vernal equinox is when the sun is right above the equator, on the way from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The time between vernal equinoxes isn't really a flat 365 day span. It's actually 365.2422 days long. You might think that the extra .2422 day per year isn't a big deal. It's only about 6 hours, after all. But, if you add up those 6 hours over a 100 year period we'd end up losing 24 whole days. That would make our seasons a mess! Here in the US we'd start to have Spring in late February instead of late March. That would mean that June would be really hot and November would be the dead of Winter rather than delightful Fall. Plus, as time passed it would be even more skewed and more skewed until eventually the seasons would get shifted backward and backward until they started all over in the months that we're familiar with today. Of course, we'd all be long dead and would never see it, but it's just not a good idea to let that happen.

There you have it, folks. Your science lesson for today. Courtesy of this big geek. Enjoy. Happy Friday. Happy Leap Day!

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1 What people are saying:

Blogger Patti rambles...

Okay my eyes got crossed and I just started skimming there toward the middle. I admit it! LOL Happy Leap Day Honey!-+

2/29/2008 04:51:00 PM

 

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