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A leap year has one extra day inserted into February and therefore lasts 366 days.

In the Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar used by most modern countries, there are certain rules which decide which years are leap years.

Every year divisible by four is a leap year but every year divisible by 100 is not a leap year, unless the year is also divisible by 400, when it is still a leap year.

This means years 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are not leap years, while year 2000 and 2400 are leap years. Leap years are needed so that the calendar is in alignment with the earth's motion around the sun.

Using a calendar with 365 days would result in an error of 0.2422 days or six hours a year. After 100 years, this calendar would be more than 24 days ahead of the seasons.

None of the calendars used today are perfect. They go wrong by seconds, minutes, hours or days every year.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2004
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