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It's That Time Again, Happy Leap Day!

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Today is February 29th — otherwise known as Leap Day, and it comes around every four years. Rose Bunch of El Cajon, Calif., enjoys the day because it's her birthday. The 64 year old is celebrating her 16th birthday.


We woke up this morning to the rarest of dates: February 29th - the odd, extra day that comes every four years, since there are apparently more than 365 days in a year.

JIM LATTIS: 365.2422, or something like that.

MONTAGNE: That's Jim Lattis. He's director of the University of Wisconsin's Space Place, an education and outreach center for the school's Astronomy Department.

LATTIS: And that's simply counting the number of days and the time that it takes the Earth to orbit the sun.

MONTAGNE: Lattis says days and years are not defined by us, but by the natural world.

LATTIS: Because there are 365-and-not-quite-a-quarter-days in the time that it takes the Earth to orbit the sun, we have to deal with that leftover fraction.

MONTAGNE: So every four years, we get a leap day. Making some sort of adjustment is key. Otherwise, the calendar would slowly become out of sync with the seasons - not quite Christmas in July, but it might feel that way.


Of course, the big question: What does this all mean if you're a leap day baby, born on February 29th? Well, Rose Bunch of El Cajon, California remembers that, as a kid, it involved some teasing.

ROSE BUNCH: I would say: I'm going to have a birthday party, and I'm going to invite Mary and Janie and all my friends, right? And my dad would say, but wait a minute. I think you better go to the calendar and - I don't think there's a birthday there. And so I'd go to the calendar and I'd flip it up, and I didn't see it and I'd start crying. And my mom would get so mad at him in the background and say don't tease her like that.

MONTAGNE: Rose Bunch says there's an upside now. She was born 64 years ago, so technically, today, she's turning 16.

BUNCH: It's great to be able to be able to say I'm 16, because I'm not lying about my age. And you know how women don't like to lie about their age.

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