Solar cycle (calendar)

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The solar cycle is a 28-year cycle of the Julian calendar with respect to the week. It occurs because leap years occur every 4 years and there are 7 possible days to start a leap year, making a 28-year sequence.

This cycle also occurs in the Gregorian calendar, but it is interrupted by years such as 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100, which are divisible by four but which are not leap years. This interruption has the effect of skipping 16 years of the solar cycle between February 28 and March 1. Because the Gregorian cycle of 400 years has exactly 146,097 days, i.e. exactly 20,871 weeks, one can say that the Gregorian so-called solar cycle lasts 400 years.

Calendar years are usually marked by Dominical letters indicating the first Sunday in a new year, thus the term solar cycle can also refer to a repeating sequence of Dominical letters.

Unless a year is not a leap year due to Gregorian exceptions, a sequence of calendars is reused every 28 years.

The name solar cycle comes from Sunday, the traditional first day of the week.


The dominical letter in the Julian calendar depends only on the remainder of the year mod 28.

Year mod 28 Dominical letter
0 DC
1 B
2 A
3 G
4 FE
5 D
6 C
7 B
8 AG
9 F
10 E
11 D
12 CB
13 A
14 G
15 F
16 ED
17 C
18 B
19 A
20 GF
21 E
22 D
23 C
24 BA
25 G
26 F
27 E

See also[edit]