Serious (philosophical) question...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2011 3:27 PM GMT
    Okay, so I've been drinking some beer, and had this question on my mind for a while...it concerns leap year and the motions of our universe. So, I assume everyone knows that leap year happens once every 4 years (meaning, we get an extra day out of nowhere). What I'm wondering is...how in the hell does this happen?? Does our orbit around the sun take an extra DAY to go around once EVERY 4 years??? basically what I'm saying is: how does our cycle around the sun suddenly slow down to an extra day (per every 4th year)? Can someone please explain this in plain ol' english and NOT beat around the bush?! I stuck this in this (spirituality) section as it verges on me trying to enlighten myself. And please, no silly answers! Thank You, in advance! icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 20, 2011 4:14 PM GMT
    Here ya go, Wade!

    " Earth travels around the sun once (approximately) every 365.25 earth days. A quarter day cannot be added into a year, therefore an extra day is added (as February 29th, Feb. being the shortest month) every 4 years. That year is called a leap year due to the leap of 4 quarter days to 'catch up,' causing a 366 day year.

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_causes_leap_years#ixzz1EW4UKhXB "
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    Feb 20, 2011 4:20 PM GMT
    ...and to go with that, a little song with excellent pics of us from outer space!

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    Feb 20, 2011 4:26 PM GMT
    The larger question is why human beings think that their way of looking at things is how things really are. Conventions, traditions, beliefs and even scientific models--these are only valid if they are useful. Tell that to the Creationists.

    Leap years certainly count as one of these conventions.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Feb 20, 2011 6:38 PM GMT
    Back in the year 1253, when they were re-doing the calendars, the chief astronomer announced that sleep day would occur every four years. But the calendar cartographer couldn't hear well and thought the scientist said, leap year day.
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    Feb 20, 2011 6:46 PM GMT
    I believe we cycle the sun at a constant rate... It's our measurement of this cycle that's a little off~ so we compensate for it later.
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    Feb 20, 2011 7:00 PM GMT
    The problem is that the period of Earths orbit around the sun is not an integer multiple of its rotational period about its axis, and moreover the inclination of this axis is not perpendicular to the plane of motion of the Earth around the Sun.

    The natural counting system for people is night and day [motion about the axis], but the seasonal behavior depends on the yearly orbit [because of the inclined axis].

    Because the two periods do not coincide, any attempt to count time in integer numbers of days will lose track of the seasons. See Moire Fringes, Beating, etc. Leap years are one way to correct for this --- and further corrections are achieved my missing a leap year 3 times every 400 years. The way that was used in earlier times was to introduce extra months or random extra days --- difficult to make plans!

    It's nice because Astronomy is really the oldest science, and the stability of planning due to a calendar is probably one of the main foundations of civilization.

    If the Earth's axis wasn't tilted with respect to its plane of motion, leap years wouldn't be necessary.
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    Feb 20, 2011 7:01 PM GMT
    wade_in_BC saidAnd please, no silly answers! Thank You, in advance! icon_smile.gif

    The orbit of the Earth around the Sun, and the Earth's rotations, are not mathematically divisible into perfect days over the period of a year (a year being a complete transit of the Earth around the Sun, a day being a complete rotation of the Earth). At the end of the Earth's orbit around the sun in 365 days, the Earth isn't in the exact rotational position it was when it started the orbit, but is a 1/4 turn different. So that after 4 years, it is rotated a full day.

    This was known in ancient times, and Julius Caesar was one of the first to establish a Roman calendar that included a leap year in 45 BC, to account for the 1/4-day "slip" that a fixed calendar would impose. Otherwise, calendar days would keep coming later and later, our Northern Hemisphere Christmas happening in Summer.
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    Feb 20, 2011 7:03 PM GMT
    wade_in_BC saidOkay, so I've been drinking some beer, and had this question on my mind for a while...it concerns leap year and the motions of our universe. So, I assume everyone knows that leap year happens once every 4 years (meaning, we get an extra day out of nowhere). What I'm wondering is...how in the hell does this happen?? Does our orbit around the sun take an extra DAY to go around once EVERY 4 years??? basically what I'm saying is: how does our cycle around the sun suddenly slow down to an extra day (per every 4th year)? Can someone please explain this in plain ol' english and NOT beat around the bush?! I stuck this in this (spirituality) section as it verges on me trying to enlighten myself. And please, no silly answers! Thank You, in advance! icon_smile.gif


    If i remember what I learned in school, the revolution of the earth around the sun is not an exact 365 days. It is like a 1/4 of a day off every year, so that we have to add a day every 4 years, to keep in sync.
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    Feb 20, 2011 7:17 PM GMT
    The actual time it takes for the earth to make one complete revolution around the sun is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Feb 20, 2011 8:44 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidThe larger question is why human beings think that their way of looking at things is how things really are. Conventions, traditions, beliefs and even scientific models--these are only valid if they are useful. Tell that to the Creationists.

    Leap years certainly count as one of these conventions.


    ?

    It's not our perspective. It's the arrangement of the Sun and the Earth and the fact that Earth's rotation is not in sync with it's orbit around the Sun. You don't have to be human to follow that. An intelligent being from another plant could observe it from a distance, never come in contact with a human being and still see the same thing.

    jockgymboy saidThe actual time it takes for the earth to make one complete revolution around the sun is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds.


    ...and thus leap years are not the only adjustments.
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    Feb 20, 2011 9:08 PM GMT
    But a leap year does not occur once every 4 years when the year divisible by 4 ends in 00? Am I right on that, yes or no, and if no, what's the situation I am thinking of? icon_question.gif
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    Feb 20, 2011 9:16 PM GMT
    Enjoy the damn beer and stop thinking
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    Feb 20, 2011 9:17 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidThe larger question is why human beings think that their way of looking at things is how things really are. Conventions, traditions, beliefs and even scientific models--these are only valid if they are useful. Tell that to the Creationists.

    Leap years certainly count as one of these conventions.


    Totally agree.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2011 9:27 PM GMT
    Yeah our concept of time and dates aren't perfect. Nothing changes about the celestial bodies, our calendars are just...... off. Human concept, therefore it is by nature, flawed
  • Celticmusl

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    Feb 20, 2011 9:44 PM GMT
    Just read the post and I didn't read anyone else's comments, but.......this has nothing to do with philosophy and the explanation for leap year is available through the internet and it would take .06 seconds to find an explanation on google.

    This is the last time I'm gonna tell you people, drinking and posting do not mix!

    epic_fail.jpg
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    Feb 20, 2011 10:06 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    60isthenew40 saidBut a leap year does not occur once every 4 years when the year divisible by 4 ends in 00? Am I right on that, yes or no, and if no, what's the situation I am thinking of? icon_question.gif

    Sort of. Leap year does not occur in 00 years unless the total is divisible by 400.

    So there was no leap year in 1900, there won't be one in 2100, but there was one in 2000.


    Thanks, you're right, now I remember. Appreciate the enlightenment!
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    Feb 21, 2011 4:54 AM GMT
    Everything about the universe can be found in this enlightening video

    [url][/url]
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    Feb 21, 2011 6:29 AM GMT
    Thank You Guys (again!) I was always fascinated with science but was never really good at understanding some parts of it. Even though the answer I was hoping to get wasn't the answer i got, I feel that this has helped...in some small way. Another reason that I stuck this question over here is that if I put this in the "All things Gay" section, it would've gotten buried, and not get the attention I think it deserved (lol).

    Most of the answers were really concise, except the one about me asking this question and drinking being an epic fail...I had to laugh at that one! Sure google is good for a lot of things...but to get a good and direct answer from fellow humans, sorry, google can't do that. And I'm sure that's another topic that needs to be discussed at some time or another.
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    Feb 21, 2011 6:41 AM GMT
    beneful1 saidEverything about the universe can be found in this enlightening video

    [url][/url]


    POWERFUL. History books should be rewritten ASAP. So if I'm getting this right:

    singularity
    big bang
    earth forms
    Paleozoic age
    Mesozoic age
    Cenozoic age
    Age of Aquarius
  • tokugawa

    Posts: 945

    Feb 21, 2011 9:01 PM GMT
    Simplified rule:

    1. A year is a leap year if the year is divisible by 4, UNLESS

    2. If the year is divisible by 100, It is not a leap year, UNLESS

    3. If the year is divisible by 400, It is a leap year.

    So, the year 2000 (divisible by 400) was a leap year, but 2100 (divisible by 100, but not divisible by 400) will not be a leap year.

    The change from Julian (Julius Caesar) calender to the Gregorian (Pope Gregory XIII) was a mess, and different countries changed at different times, starting in 1582 with Italy. It was not until 1929 that all countries of the world were using the same calender. Not only that, but the change to the Gregorian calendar also need to skip anywhere from 10 days (for the early adapters) to up to 13 days (for the late comers.)

    Britain and the British Empire (including the eastern part of what is now the United States) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, by which time it was necessary to correct by 11 days. Wednesday, 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday, 14 September 1752.

    see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar

    Sweden had a particularly difficult time making the change.

    From Wikipedia:

    Sweden's relationship with the Gregorian Calendar was a difficult one. Sweden started to make the change from the Julian calendar and towards the Gregorian calendar in 1700, but it was decided to make the (then 11-day) adjustment gradually, by excluding the leap days (29 February) from each of 11 successive leap years, 1700 to 1740. In the meantime, the Swedish calendar would be out of step with both the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar for 40 years; also, the difference would not be constant but would change every 4 years. This system had potential for confusion when working out the dates of Swedish events in this 40-year period. To add to the confusion, the system was poorly administered and the leap days that should have been excluded from 1704 and 1708 were not excluded. The Swedish calendar (according to the transition plan) should now have been 8 days behind the Gregorian, but was still in fact 10 days behind. King Charles XII recognised that the gradual change to the new system was not working, and he abandoned it.

    However, rather than proceeding directly to the Gregorian calendar, it was decided to revert to the Julian calendar. This was achieved by introducing the unique date 30 February in the year 1712, adjusting the discrepancy in the calendars from 10 back to 11 days. Sweden finally adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1753, when Wednesday, 17 February was followed by Thursday, 1 March.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2011 9:15 PM GMT
    I fail to see how this is in any aspect a philosophical question.

    The earth spins around its own axis approximately 365.25 times in the same amount of time it takes the earth to rotate around the sun 1 time.

    Solution: every four years add a day to the calendar.

    Problem solved
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2011 6:44 AM GMT
    Why didn't the OP just google this??? Or look at Wikipedia??
  • gallus81

    Posts: 350

    Feb 22, 2011 7:04 AM GMT
    TerraFirma saidWhy didn't the OP just google this??? Or look at Wikipedia??


    because that would render my idle moments browsing the forums redundant, so I thank the OP for making my time worthwhile.

    and 4 edumacating all of uz.
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    Feb 22, 2011 7:04 AM GMT
    Ummm.. did anyone else learn this in elementary school?