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Take a Leap this February

This article first appeared in the February, 28, 2020 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Take a Leap this February

 

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise

 

2020 is a Leap Year!  But what does this mean, other than adding an extra day to the end of February?

 

Through the centuries, scientists have observed the season and charted stars.  They created several calendars but would always find the days would not always line up with seasons after a few years.  After some more observations and calculations, early astronomers determined it takes the earth 365.25 days to revolve around the sun.  That extra quarter of a day is only 6 hours, which may not seem like much, but over 100 years would make a calendar out of sync by 25 days, almost an entire month!

 

During the late 16th century, Pope Gregory XII and his astronomers adjusted the calendar at the time, the Julian calendar, by adding an extra day in February every four years.  This created the Gregorian calendar many follow today.  The extra day helps to offset the extra quarter day from the other three years and help to keep the seasons and calendar in sync.

 

Why is it called a leap year?  With the Gregorian calendar, a specific date will advance one day of the week each year.  However, during a leap year, there would a “leap” over the next day to the following.  For example, March 1st landed on a Wednesday in 2017, was a Thursday in 2018, a Friday in 2019, but “leaps” over Saturday and will be a Sunday this year in 2020.  Babies born in leap years usually have a 1 in 1500 chance of being born on February 29th, but they still happen.  Families decide when to celebrate birthdays, be it February 28th or March 1st.  Different states have different laws on how those born on leap years when it comes to issuing driver’s licenses or other age specific laws, some choose February 28, others March 1st.

 

February 29, 2020 happens to land on a Saturday this year, which is one of our regular public hours days.  Visit our Light & Sound exhibit during our public hours from 1-5pm, admission is $5 per person, free for ages 2 and under, Members, teachers, and ASTC. Or visit us on any of our other regular public hours days Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday also from 1-5pm.

 

 

Explorit's coming events:

 

  • Come find Explorit at the following community event: Women in STEM-Leap In, at Peregrine School Saturday, February 29, from 1-3pm.

 

 

  • Become a member of Explorit!  Membership grants you free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, camps, and workshops, and gives you ASTC benefits.  For more information or to purchase or renew your membership visit www.explorit.org/join/membership-levels or call Explorit at 530-756-0191.

 

  • Pi Day Celebration! Saturday, March 14 from 10am-5pm.  Admission is $6 for Members/$8 for Non-Members for a day of circle and pi fun! No passes.

 

  • Extended public hours: 1-5pm every day during the week of April 6-10.  Regular hours resume Saturday, April 11.

 

 

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