Here’s a stray item from my notes. In the Göttingen Pocket Almanac, G.C. Lichtenberg notes that people born on Leap Day lament being able to celebrate a birthday only once every four years. But he points out that at the moment of anyone’s birth, the sun stands at a certain point on its ecliptic, and that properly speaking he is 1 year old on the day when the sun returns to that point, regardless of what the calendar calls it.
In this sense, not only does a Leap Day baby have a birthday every year, but the rest of us may be celebrating on the wrong dates. “If you had been born on any other day — for instance, May 1 — you would nevertheless, under certain conditions, celebrate your birthday on different days, at times on April 30, at times on May 2. … This is based on the circumstance that the year does not consist of exactly 365 days but of about 365 days and six hours, while we can’t possibly bother with such fractions of days in our ordinary affairs.”
I’ve been wanting to fashion this into a post, but first I need to know if he’s right. Today is April 16. When Earth returns to this position in subsequent orbits, will the calendar always read April 16?