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Treebeard's Stumper Answer
17 Jan 97

We're fast approaching a new century and a new millennium. But exactly when does the new millennium begin? Is it at midnight on January 1 of the year 2000, or a year later on January 1, 2001? This has been one of the most debated questions in the sci.astro astronomy discussion group on the Internet. My question is: Why is this a question? What's the argument?

Does the coming millennium begin with the year 2000 or 2001? Our calendar is a patchwork of religion, politics, and astronomy. One of its quirks is that there is no year zero. The year 1 B.C. is followed by the year 1 A.D. So the year 1 was the first year, and the year 100 was the 100th year. Therefore the second hundred years began with the year 101. And so the next thousand years will properly begin with the year 2001, even though the big calendar change is the year before. No problem, I figure we'll have two excuses to party!

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Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org