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Neil deGrasse Tyson Ruins Leap Day With A Tweet

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has made a point of correcting common misconceptions on Twitter — from highlighting scientific inaccuracies in movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Good Dinosaur to debunking flash-in-the-pan trending topics on social media, like the whole craze behind the Dress and rapper B.o.B.'s theory that the Earth is actually flat

Now, the scientist has taken on another topic: Leap Day, the extra day added to February that occurs every few years.

Some followers on Twitter seemed a bit miffed about the tweets, implying that deGrasse Tyson was more or less a killjoy.

However, deGrasse Tyson's tweet wasn't exactly out-of-the-blue: the scientist had filmed a segment for the National Geographic show StarTalks on exactly how the leap year came to be, along with a breakdown of the logic behind it. The video was released on Feb. 27.

 

So, then, what exactly is a leap day? According to the astrophysicist, it has to do with the way we divide our calendar year and the actual amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit around the sun — 365 days and one quarter. We get rid of the extra quarter for the purpose of making it more simple, and tack that extra time onto a day in February to make up the difference. 

Except, of course, that it's not that simple, as explained by the New York Times"It actually takes the Earth a bit less than 365¼ days to travel around the sun, so one day is also dropped at the turn of every century, except when that year is divisible by 400."

Tyson did have a special fun fact for some of his Twitter followers — namely, those who were born on Feb. 29, meaning that they only get to celebrate their real leap day-timed birthday once every four years.

Source: Twitter

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