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sequential arrangement of all events, or the interval between two events in such a sequence. The concept of time may be discussed on several different levels: physical, psychological, philosophical and scientific, and biological.
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 required for the earth to complete one orbit about the sun. The solar or tropical yeartropical year,
time between successive vernal equinoxes; 365 days, 5 hr, 48 min, 46 sec of mean solar time (see solar time). The tropical year is the basis of the year used in the Gregorian calendar.
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 is measured relative to the sun and is equal to 365 days, 5 hr, 48 min, 46 sec of mean solar time (see solar timesolar time,
time defined by the position of the sun. The solar day is the time it takes for the sun to return to the same meridian in the sky. Local solar time is measured by a sundial.
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). The sidereal yearsidereal year,
time required for the earth to complete an orbit of the sun relative to the stars. The sidereal year is 365 days, 6 hr, 9 min, 9.5 sec of mean solar time (see solar time).
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, measured relative to the stars, is longer than the tropical year by about 20 min. The calendarcalendar
[Lat., from Kalends], system of reckoning time for the practical purpose of recording past events and calculating dates for future plans. The calendar is based on noting ordinary and easily observable natural events, the cycle of the sun through the seasons with equinox
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 year is used for practical purposes and always contains a whole number of days, the ordinary year being 365 days and the leap year 366 days.



an interval of time approximating the duration of one revolution of the earth around the sun.

Since ancient times the determination of the length of a year by observing recurring astronomic phenomena has been an important scientific problem having great practical significance. Ancient China and ancient Egypt both had quite accurate measurements of the year. The Greek scholar Hip-parchus in the second century B.C. calculated the length of a year as exactly 365.25 days minus 1/300 of a day, which varies from contemporary measurements by only 6½ minutes.

The complexity of the movement of the earth around the sun accounts for the various values of the year that are used in different fields of science and everyday life. The stellar (sidereal) year is the interval of time in which the sun completes its apparent annual path in the heavens with respect to the stars. The tropical year is the interval of time between two successive transits of the sun through the point of the vernal equinox. It corresponds to the period in which the earth experiences the change of seasons—spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The anomalistic year, the interval between two successive transits of the sun through the perihelion, is used in celestial mechanics. The Draconic year is the interval in which the sun returns to the same (ascending or descending) nodal point on the lunar orbit. It is used for predicting solar and lunar eclipses. The Julian year is the basis for the Julian calendar (old style); now it is sometimes used in astronomy for computing large intervals of time (the Julian century is 36,525 days). The Gregorian year serves as the basic unit in the Gregorian calendar (new style). The lunar year equal to 12 (or 13) synodical months, is used in lunar calendars. Table 1 shows the duration of a year in each system.

Table 1. Systems of years
 Duration in ephemeris days (for 1950)100 years’ deviation (in days)
Sidereal year...............365.256360+0.11 x 10−4
Tropical year...............365.242196-6.16 x 10−4
Anomalistic year...............365.259641+3.04 x 10−4
Draconic year...............346.620047+32 x 10−4
Lunar year(in 12 months)...............354.3670-2.4 x 10−4
Julian year...............365.25
Gregorian year(average duration)...............365.2425



Any of several units of time based on the revolution of the earth about the sun; the tropical year to which the calendar is adjusted is the period required for the sun's longitude to increase 360°; it is about 365.24220 mean solar days. Abbreviated yr.


1. the period of time, the calendar year, containing 365 days or in a leap year 366 days. It is based on the Gregorian calendar, being divided into 12 calendar months, and is reckoned from January 1 to December 31
2. the period of time, the solar year, during which the earth makes one revolution around the sun, measured between two successive vernal equinoxes: equal to 365.242 19 days
3. the period of time, the sidereal year, during which the earth makes one revolution around the sun, measured between two successive conjunctions of a particular distant star: equal to 365.256 36 days
4. the period of time, the lunar year, containing 12 lunar months and equal to 354.3671 days
5. the period of time taken by a specified planet to complete one revolution around the sun
6. a group of pupils or students, who are taught or study together, divided into classes at school
7. year and a day English law a period fixed by law to ensure the completion of a full year. It is applied for certain purposes, such as to determine the time within which wrecks must be claimed
References in periodicals archive ?
At earlier stages of processing, the index for intermediate materials excluding food and energy decelerated sharply during the first half of the year and then edged down in the second half.
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Bush lobbied strongly for the "No Child Left Behind Act," which was passed by Congress at the end of the year and signed into law by President Bush the following January.