Six Questions to Start the New Year

The graphic is “Father Time and Baby New Year” from Frolic & Fun (author unknown), published in 1897. Father Time was one of the earliest New Year icons among dozens now used in the media. I needed some kind of graphic for today’s post, and this one seemed on-topic. If you want to see the full-size version just click on it.

First, Happy New Year to my readers! This time of year, every year, I get a lot of the same questions. So I thought I’d present you with a “year-end FAQ” of sorts showcasing those common queries. As a bonus, I get a brief vacation from writing over the holidays. The six posts I selected are all reprints.

So pick and choose what interests you, or settle in and read them all — if you haven’t already. I bid you peace for the holidays and beyond. May all your night lights be billions of miles away.

Why the Year Starts on January 1st: The answer is simple, but this is the most frequently asked question.
Why There Are Leap Years
: Why do some years (like 2016) have 366 days and most (like 2017) have 365 days?

Leap Seconds: On December 31 scientists add “leap seconds” to the official time. Why do they do that?
The Winter Solstice: It happened last month, but was there anything to actually see when it happened?
Buying and Naming Your Own Star: Did someone buy you a star for Christmas? Is this for real? Is it legal?
Earth at Perihelion: You may have heard Earth will reach perihelion on January 3-4. So what?

Next week we’ll be back to our usual single-topic format for Sky Lights. Our first post of the New Year will examine the “metric calendar” introduced after the French Revolution.

Next Week in Sky Lights ⇒ A Brief History of the Metric Calendar

Q&A: Santa's Sleigh Sighted?
Q&A: A Brief History of the Metric Calendar