Throughout history, time has been determined by using the reflection of the sun, the phases of the moon, and other calendars such as Stonehenge. Stonehenge, built over 4000 years ago in England, where used to tell ancient civilizations the time of the day and year. Ancient peoples used lunar eclipses, sun rays, the position of the sun, and other seasonal or celestial events to determine the time. People used these stones to tell the time of the day.
In 46 BC Julius Caesar decided that the calendar year should have 365 days, but every fourth year there should be an extra day, which would be a leap year. He adapted this basis because if the year was divisible by four then it was to be a leap year.
In 1582 Clauvius proposed the Gregorian Calendar to Pope Gregory with an average year of 365.2425 days and 97 leap years every 400 years. The year was not to be a leap year unless it were divisible by 100 and 400.
Today time can be easily determined by reading a clock, watch, or even easier by a digital clock.
Wikipedia tells that the winter solstice occurs when the axis of the earth is farthest from the Sun. Because our calendar has most years of 365 days interrupted frequently by a year with an extra day, the date of the winter solstice varies between December 21 and 23. (The actual formula for leap year is a little more complicated than every 4th year. Years evenly divisible by 100 are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400.) While it is true the winter solstice occurs on the shortest day of the year, it does not correspond to the date of the latest sunrise of the year.
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