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Uncovering the mystery of Leap Year and the newest 'Leaplings' among us

Leapling, Jameson Parrett born at 12:45 on Leap Day 2025 at HSHS St Vincent Hospital
The newest "Leapling" born on Leap Day at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay
Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-29 19:32:05-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Typically an extra day in winter isn’t something to celebrate but today is a unique occasion — Leap Day. A day gifted once every four years, or so we thought.

  • Associate Professor of Physics at UWGB, Brian Welsch, shares insights into the science behind leap years.
  • There are still imperfections to the Leap Year, leading to the occasional skipping of leap years.
  • Meet, Jameson Parrett, born at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, who joins the exclusive "Leaplings" club.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Typically an extra day in winter isn’t something to celebrate but today is a unique occasion — Leap Day. A day gifted once every four years, or so we thought.

We’re taking a closer look at the leap year to uncover the science behind it and the newest member of our community with an extra special reason to celebrate it.

We spoke with Associate Professor of Physics at UWGB, Brian Welsch to get some answers to the science of this calendar anomaly.

"So there's a discrepancy in the number of spins of the earth, for every revolution around the sun. So we've got to make up that difference once in a while. One day is one spin of the earth, but a year is all the way around the sun, and those two things, according to science, don't match up," explains Welsh.

Adding an extra day to our calendar every four years helps balance out this discrepancy. Without this adjustment the start of spring wouldn’t line up with the calendar, causing the seasons to shift over time.

But even this system isn't perfect. To align the Earth's rotation with our Gregorian calendar perfectly, three out of every 400 years, we have to skip the leap year. This rarity occurred in the year 1900, and we won't skip it again until the year 2100.

Yet, even more rare than a skipped leap year is a "leapling" — those fortunate enough to be born on this calendar quirk. Like, Jameson Parrett, who was born at HSHS St Vincent Hospital in Green Bay at 12:45 AM to his parents, Paige and Thomas.

"He picked his birthday because he's the one that decided to flip and go breach so…. an unplanned C-section," shares Paige Parrett, Jameson's mother.

The odds of having this elusive birthday are 1 out of every 1,461 thousand. "We think it's extra special as in all still celebrate his birthday, but it'll be extra special every four years. So we're pretty excited. It's pretty neat," expresses Paige.

Jameson, who's also a little Irish, is the seventh baby born to this lucky family. "Rub his head and you might have good luck," jokes Thomas Parrett, Jameson's father.

Mom and baby Parrett are doing great. Jameson hasn't even met his other six siblings yet; they get to meet their lucky little brother on Friday.

The family says they plan on celebrating Jameson's non-leap year birthday on Feb. 28th and having a big party every four years on his real birthday, the 29th.