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A year is the orbital period of the Earth moving in its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the seasons, marked by changes in weather, the hours of daylight, and, consequently, vegetation and soil fertility. In temperate and subpolar regions around the globe, four seasons are generally recognized: spring, summer, autumn and winter. In tropical and subtropical regions several geographical sectors do not present defined seasons; but in the seasonal tropics, the annual wet and dry seasons are recognized and tracked.
A calendar year is an approximation of the number of days of the Earth's orbital period as counted in a given calendar. The Gregorian, or modern, calendar, presents its calendar year to be either a common year of 365 days or a leap year of 366 days, as do the Julian calendars; see below. For the Gregorian calendar the average length of the calendar year (the mean year) across the complete leap cycle of 400 years is 365.2425 days. The ISO standard ISO 80000-3, Annex C, supports the symbol "a" (for Latin annus) to represent a year of either 365 or 366 days. In English, the abbreviations "y" and "yr" are commonly used.
In astronomy, the Julian year is a unit of time; it is defined as 365.25 days of exactly 7004864000000000000♠86400 seconds (SI base unit), totalling exactly 7007315576000000000♠31557600 seconds in the Julian astronomical year.
The word "year" is also used for periods loosely associated with, but not identical to, the calendar or astronomical year, such as the seasonal year, the fiscal year, the academic year, etc. Similarly, "year" can mean the orbital period of any planet: for example, a Martian year or a Venusian year are examples of the time a planet takes to transit one complete orbit. The term can also be used in reference to any long period or cycle, such as the Great Year.