Leap Day 29 February 2020 Google Doodle: “We HOP you have a good one!” Google has put out a “jumping” doodle Saturday to celebrate February 29, the leap year day in 2020. The year 2020 is a ‘leap year’, meaning the month of February will have 29 days instead of 28, and the total number of days will be 366 instead of 365.
The leap year was introduced by scholars engaged by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, and made more precise from 12 AD.
Leap years are always multiples of four — 2016, 2020, 2024 — but a year that is a multiple of four is not always a leap year. There are exceptions, such as 1900 and 2100, both multiples of four, yet neither a leap year.
A calendar is meant to correspond to the Earth’s seasons. For this, the number of days in a calendar needs to match the time required by the Earth to orbit the Sun.
The time required by the Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun is approximately 365.242 days. But years are usually only 365 days. To adjust for the extra 0.242 days in the orbital period, which becomes almost one full day in four years, the calendar adds an extra day once every four years. This approximates the time to 365.25 days, which is close to the actual 365.242 days.
Leap years can present a problem in computing, known as the leap year bug, when a year is not correctly identified as a leap year or when February 29 is not handled correctly in logic that accepts or manipulates dates.
On the other hand, the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so a leap year has an extra month, often called an embolismic month after the Greek word for it. In the Chinese calendar the leap month is added according to a rule which ensures that month 11 is always the month that contains the northern winter solstice.
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