Complete Story


Leap Year Day

Thursday, February 29

What is a leap year?
A leap year takes place roughly every four years, when an extra day is added to the Gregorian calendar, making the total duration of that year 366, not 365, days. The extra day is added at the end of the month of February. Feb. 29 is known as leap day.

Fun fact: Some other major events that occur every four years — like the U.S. presidential elections and the Summer Olympics — also typically take place during leap years.

Why do leap years exist?
Return to menuLeap years happen because of a “mismatch between the calendar year and Earth’s orbit,” according to NASA. While we think of one year as lasting 365 days, it actually takes a little longer — approximately 365 days and 6 hours — for the Earth to orbit the sun. That extra quarter of a day has to go somewhere, so around every four years, we add 24 hours — or four times six hours — to the calendar.

CLICK HERE for other Leap Day fun facts!

More Info

Printer-Friendly Version