Solar calendar

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A solar calendar is a calendar whose dates indicate the season or almost equivalently the apparent position of the Sun relative to the stars. The Gregorian calendar, widely accepted as a standard in the world, is an example of a solar calendar. The main other type of calendar is a lunar calendar, whose months correspond to cycles of Moon phases. The months of the Gregorian calendar do not correspond to cycles of the Moon phase.

Contents

Examples

The oldest solar calendars include the Julian calendar and the Coptic calendar. They both have a year of 365 days, which is extended to 366 once every four years, without exception, so have a mean year of 365.25 days. As solar calendars became more accurate, they evolved into two types.

Tropical solar calendars

If the position of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun is reckoned with respect to the Equinox, the point at which the orbit crosses the celestial equator, then its dates accurately indicate the seasons, that is, they are synchronized with the declination of the Sun. Such a calendar is called a tropical solar calendar[ citation needed ].

The duration of the mean calendar year of such a calendar approximates some form of the tropical year, usually either the mean tropical year or the vernal equinox year.

The following are tropical solar calendars:

Every one of these calendars has a year of 365 days, which is occasionally extended by adding an extra day to form a leap year, a method called "intercalation", the inserted day being "intercalary".

The Iranian calendar always begins the year on the vernal equinox and sets its intercalary days so that the following year also begins on the vernal equinox. The moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere is determined as at Tehran "by means of astronomical computations from reliable sources". [1] °

Sidereal solar calendars

If the position of the Earth (see above) is reckoned with respect to the fixed stars, then the dates indicate the zodiacal constellation near which the Sun can be found. A calendar of this type is called a sidereal solar calendar[ citation needed ].

The mean calendar year of such a calendar approximates the sidereal year.

Indian calendars like the Hindu calendar, Tamil calendar, Bengali calendar (non-revised) and Malayalam calendar are sidereal solar calendars. The Thai solar calendar when based on the Hindu solar calendar was also a sidereal calendar. They are calculated on the basis of the apparent motion of the Sun through the twelve zodiacal signs rather than the tropical movement of the Earth.

Non-solar calendars

The Islamic calendar, which is a purely lunar calendar and has a year, whose start drifts through the seasons and so is not a solar calendar. The Maya Tzolkin calendar, which follows a 260-day cycle, has no year, therefore it is not a solar calendar. Also, any calendar synchronized only to the synodic period of Venus would not be solar.

Lunisolar calendars

Lunisolar calendars are lunar calendars that additional intercalation rules to keep a rough synchronization with the solar year and thus with the seasons. Because a typical lunisolar calendar has a year made up of a whole number of lunar months, it can't indicate the position of Earth on its revolution around the Sun, as well as a purely solar calendar, can.

List of solar calendars

The following is a list of current, historical, and proposed solar calendars:

See also

Related Research Articles

Calendar System for organizing the days of year

A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a physical record of such a system. A calendar can also mean a list of planned events, such as a court calendar or a partly or fully chronological list of documents, such as a calendar of wills.

Chinese calendar Lunisolar calendar from China

The traditional Chinese calendar, is a lunisolar calendar which reckons years, months and days according to astronomical phenomena. In China it is defined by the Chinese national standard GB/T 33661–2017, "Calculation and promulgation of the Chinese calendar", issued by the Standardisation Administration of China on May 12, 2017.

Intercalation or embolism in timekeeping is the insertion of a leap day, week, or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.

A leap year is a calendar year that contains an additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year or seasonal year. Because astronomical events and seasons do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have a constant number of days in each year will unavoidably drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track, such as seasons. By inserting an additional day or month into some years, the drift between a civilization's dating system and the physical properties of the solar system can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is a common year.

Lunisolar calendar Calendar with lunar month, solar year

A lunisolar calendar is a calendar in many cultures whose date indicates both the Moon phase and the time of the solar year. If the solar year is defined as a tropical year, then a lunisolar calendar will give an indication of the season; if it is taken as a sidereal year, then the calendar will predict the constellation near which the full moon may occur. As with all calendars which divide the year into months there is an additional requirement that the year have a whole number of months. In this case ordinary years consist of twelve months but every second or third year is an embolismic year, which adds a thirteenth intercalary, embolismic, or leap month.

A month is a unit of time, used with calendars, that is approximately as long as a natural orbital period of the Moon; the words month and Moon are cognates. The traditional concept arose with the cycle of Moon phases; such lunar months ("lunations") are synodic months and last approximately 29.53 days. From excavated tally sticks, researchers have deduced that people counted days in relation to the Moon's phases as early as the Paleolithic age. Synodic months, based on the Moon's orbital period with respect to the Earth-Sun line, are still the basis of many calendars today, and are used to divide the year.

Metonic cycle

The Metonic cycle or enneadecaeteris is a period of approximately 19 years after which the phases of the moon recur at the same time of the year. The recurrence is not perfect, and by precise observation the Metonic cycle defined as 235 synodic lunar months is just 1 hour, 27 minutes and 33 seconds longer than 19 tropical years. Meton of Athens, in the 5th century BC, judged the cycle to be a whole number of days, 6,940. Using these whole numbers facilitates the construction of a lunisolar calendar.

Year Orbital period of the Earth around the Sun

A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the seasons, marked by change in weather, the hours of daylight, and, consequently, vegetation and soil fertility. In temperate and subpolar regions around the planet, four seasons are generally recognized: spring, summer, autumn and winter. In tropical and subtropical regions, several geographical sectors do not present defined seasons; but in the seasonal tropics, the annual wet and dry seasons are recognized and tracked.

Axial precession Gravity-induced, slow, and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical bodys rotational axis

In astronomy, axial precession is a gravity-induced, slow, and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body's rotational axis. In particular, it can refer to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation in a cycle of approximately 26,000 years. This is similar to the precession of a spinning top, with the axis tracing out a pair of cones joined at their apices. The term "precession" typically refers only to this largest part of the motion; other changes in the alignment of Earth's axis—nutation and polar motion—are much smaller in magnitude.

The Iranian calendars or Iranian chronology are a succession of calendars invented or used for over two millennia in Iran, also known as Persia. One of the longest chronological records in human history, the Iranian calendar has been modified time and again during its history to suit administrative, climatic, and religious purposes. The most influential face in laying the frameworks for the calendar and its precision was the 11 century Persian polymath, hakim Omar Khayyam. The modern Iranian calendar is currently the official calendar in Iran. It begins at the midnight nearest to the instant of the vernal equinox as determined by astronomic calculations for the Iran Standard Time meridian. It is, therefore, an observation-based calendar, unlike the Gregorian, which is rule-based.

Calendar reform or calendrical reform is any significant revision of a calendar system. The term sometimes is used instead for a proposal to switch to a different calendar design.

The Buddhist calendar is a set of lunisolar calendars primarily used in mainland Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and Chinese populations of Malaysia and Singapore for religious or official occasions. While the calendars share a common lineage, they also have minor but important variations such as intercalation schedules, month names and numbering, use of cycles, etc. In Thailand, the name Buddhist Era is a year numbering system shared by the traditional Thai lunisolar calendar and by the Thai solar calendar.

March equinox The equinox on the Earth when the Sun appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator

The March equinox or northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth. The March equinox is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and as the autumnal equinox in the Southern.

Aries (astrology) First astrological sign of the zodiac

Aries (♈︎) is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude, and originates from the constellation of the same name. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign from approximately March 20 to April 21 each year. This time duration is exactly the first month of the Solar Hijri calendar.

Often called lunar mansion, a lunar station or lunar house is a segment of the ecliptic through which the Moon passes in its orbit around the Earth. The concept was used by several ancient cultures as part of their calendrical system.

The Burmese calendar is a lunisolar calendar in which the months are based on lunar months and years are based on sidereal years. The calendar is largely based on an older version of the Hindu calendar, though unlike the Indian systems, it employs a version of the Metonic cycle. The calendar therefore has to reconcile the sidereal years of the Hindu calendar with the Metonic cycle's near tropical years by adding intercalary months and days at irregular intervals.

The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a minor modification of the Julian calendar, reducing the average year from 365.25 days to 365.2425 days, and adjusting for the drift in the 'tropical' or 'solar' year that the inaccuracy had caused during the intervening centuries.

A tropical year is the time that the Sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons, as seen from Earth; for example, the time from vernal equinox to vernal equinox, or from summer solstice to summer solstice. This differs from the time it takes Earth to complete one full orbit around the Sun as measured with respect to the fixed stars by about 20 minutes because of the precession of the equinoxes.

A Small Mahzor is a 19-year cycle in the lunisolar calendar system used by the Jewish people. It is similar to, but slightly different in usage with, the Greek Metonic cycle.

The Solar Hijri calendar, also called the Iranian Hijri calendar or Shamsi Hijri calendar, and abbreviated as SH and, sometimes, HS, is the official calendar of Iran and Afghanistan. It begins on the March equinox (Nowruz) as determined by astronomical calculation for the Iran Standard Time meridian and has years of 365 or 366 days.

References

  1. The Universal House of Justice (2014-07-10). "To the Bahá'ís of the World" . Retrieved 2014-07-10.