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  2. The simple answer is no. None of the calendar systems currently in use around the world perfectly reflect the length of a tropical year. However, there are calendar systems that are more accurate than the Gregorian calendar we use today.

  3. By any criterion, the Gregorian calendar is substantially more accurate than the 1 day in 128 years error of the Julian calendar (average year 365.25 days). In the 19th century, Sir John Herschel proposed a modification to the Gregorian calendar with 969 leap days every 4,000 years, instead of 970 leap days that the Gregorian calendar would ...

  4. The more advanced leap year formula makes the Gregorian calendar far more accurate than the Julian. However, it is not perfect either. Compared to the tropical year, it is off by one day every 3236 years.

    • The original goal of the Gregorian calendar was to change the date of Easter. In 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII introduced his Gregorian calendar, Europe adhered to the Julian calendar, first implemented by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.
    • Leap years don’t really occur every four years in the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar included an extra day in February every four years. But Aloysus Lilius, the Italian scientist who developed the system Pope Gregory would unveil in 1582, realized that the addition of so many days made the calendar slightly too long.
    • The Gregorian calendar differs from the solar year by 26 seconds per year. Despite Lilius’ ingenious method for syncing the calendar with the seasons, his system is still off by 26 seconds.
    • Some Protestants viewed the Gregorian calendar as a Catholic plot. Though Pope Gregory’s papal bull reforming the calendar had no power beyond the Catholic Church, Catholic countries—including Spain, Portugal and Italy—swiftly adopted the new system for their civil affairs.
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