What To Know: Leap Day 2024

February 29, 2024

(With no leap years) eventually summer would be in November or December 100 years from now.

Graduate researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, Robert Washington, explaining the importance of adding an extra day approximately every four years in order to keep the calendar balanced with the seasons.

Big Picture: February 29, 2024 marks leap day, meaning the extra day in February only comes around about every four years as part of a leap year tradition thought to trace back to the ancient Egyptians.

Fun Fact: According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 363,000 Americans have a February 29 birthday, a small number compared to the 1.6 million who have a birthday the next day on March 1.

NASA provides a short answer for what a leap year is: “It takes approximately 365.25 days for Earth to orbit the Sun — a solar year. We usually round the days in a calendar year to 365. To make up for the missing partial day, we add one day to our calendar approximately every four years. That is a leap year.”

Read More: Happy Leap Day Birthday to Me (See You Again in Four Years) (The New York Times)

What is a leap day? All about Feb. 29, on the calendar every 4 years. (The Washington Post)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas