Without leap years, today would be July 11, 2017

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What happens without leap years?

Not much, at least at first.

But little by little, the calendar year would get out of sync with the solar year. That’s because our calendar years usually last about 365 days, but it actually takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds for Earth to cycle through all four seasons as it journeys around the sun.

Every year, the calendar falls about one-quarter of a day behind the solar year. Over time, Jan. 1 would come earlier in winter, then in the fall. After about 780 years, New Year’s Day would coincide with the summer solstice.