Some people believe that life is not about how many breaths you take, but instead how many moments take your breath away. What’s for certain is that the time we have is precious. Spend some time today with those you love.

Seconds tick by and turn into minutes. Minutes turn into hours, and hours turn into days. The days turn into years and, before you know it, time has flown by.

Have you ever made a split-second decision? You were going to do X, but then…at the last second…you changed your mind and did Y instead. Maybe it was choosing the path less traveled instead of the wide road. Whatever the reason, mere seconds can be well spent and change lives forever.

Have you ever stopped to consider how many seconds you have? If every second counts, then let’s count the seconds we have. For example, how many seconds do we have in a day? A month? A whole year?

A wise man once said that there are 12 seconds in a year. January 2^{nd}, February 2^{nd}, March 2^{nd}…OK, you get the picture. But those aren’t the seconds we’re talking about! We mean that small unit of time that’s about as long as it takes to say, “one thousand one.”

To figure out how many seconds there are in a year, we’re going to need to know a little math. To convert a certain quantity to a different unit of measure, we need to figure out what is called the conversion factor.

To do this, we need to come up with a ratio — or fraction — that equals one. In the ratio, the conversion factor is a multiplier that gets applied to the larger unit to convert it into the smaller unit through multiplication.

Sound confusing? Don’t worry. A simple example will make things clear. When thinking about how many seconds there are in a year, let’s first figure out the different units of measurement of time involved. We have the second, the minute, the hour, the day, the month and the year.

Let’s start with the largest of these measures: the year. To convert years to the next smallest unit — the month — we have to know how many months are in a year. Since we know there are 12 months in a year, our ratio would be 1:12 (one year:12 months) or 1/12. So, the conversion factor is 12.

If we want to know how many months are in 5 years, we just need to multiply the number of years by the conversion factor. Five years times 12 months/year equals 60 months in 5 years. Easy enough, right?

To figure out even smaller units, you can keep doing multiple conversions to smaller and smaller units. Just make sure that the units you’re using are all the same. For example, there are 24 hours in each day, but not all months have the same number of days. To convert one year to seconds, you’ll need to skip using months and convert to days, hours, minutes and finally seconds.

Each step of the way, you’ll need to compute the conversion factor and then multiply. Here’s what the conversion from one year to seconds would look like:

1 year = 365 days (no, we’re not counting leap years!)

1 day = 24 hours

1 hour = 60 minutes

1 minute = 60 seconds

So…drum roll, please…one year would equal 365 times 24 times 60 times 60 seconds…or 31,536,000 seconds! That’s over 31 million seconds you have to spend over the next year. What will you do with YOUR seconds?

Wolfram Alpha tells me that there’s 31,540,000 seconds in a year

Thanks so much for commenting today, Jose! If Wolfram Alpha gives us an extra 4,000 seconds, we hope LOTS of awesome WONDERing will happen during that time!

they rounded up

I never knew their were 31,536,000 seconds in a year!

We’re super glad you learned something new from this Wonder of the Day®, Aidan! That’s a LOT of seconds, isn’t it?

Nice song. I can’t believe there are 31,540,000.

Hi, John! Thank you for your comment! We’re glad you learned something new about seconds, minutes and years today!

WOW! 31,536,000!

That’s a LOT of seconds, isn’t it, Tim? We like to think of it as 31,536,000 chances to WONDER!

How did you guys figure that out?! That is a lot of seconds in a year. Imagine how many seconds are in five years! How many minutes are in a year and a month? That was a great wonder!

We agree, Jordan…that really IS a LOT of seconds! Thanks for letting us know that you thought this Wonder was GREAT! We think YOU are GREAT for leaving us this comment today!

Hey, yo.

Hello, AwesomeMaster330! Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis today!

How many seconds are in a year?

12 – January 2, February 2, March 2, …

Hehe, you’ve got us chuckling today, Patrick! Thanks for telling us how many seconds (“2nd”) are in a year! We hope you have a WONDERful day!

I think there are 12 2nds! Because there are 12 months…

Nice work, Lover of Wondering! We like your style– that was a great answer to our calendar Wonder! Thanks for sharing your comment!

You’re welcome. I love this website. Keep making WONDERful blogs.

HOORAY, thanks for your super comment, Wonder Friend! We’re glad you’re here!

YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!!!!

Thanks for your kind comment, Cody! We’re glad to hear it!

Hey, what’s up? You guys are awesome.

Hey Anya! Thanks! We think you are awesome too!

Wow 31,536,000 seconds in a whole year!!!! That’s amazing!!!! I wonder how many seconds are in a month???

Hi Madelyn! Thanks for WONDERing with us! You can divide that number by 12 and get your answer! What’s the number you come up with? We’d love to hear your math! Keep WONDERing!

Our group found out that the answer is 31,536,000.That’s a lot of seconds in a year!:)

Our answer was 31,536,000. Can you make more problems like that? We really liked them!!!! Our group was the first to figure it out. It surprisingly didn’t that long.

Yeah my class calculated leap year! It’s 31,622,400 seconds. Tell me if I’m wrong.

This is great. Now I can complete my project!

WONDERful, Yolo! We are so glad that we could help you out!

I am in awe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great, Dave! You found another Wonder about time! Thanks for WONDERing with us today!

Did you subtract by 86199 because there are 23hrs and 56mins in a day that’s how long it takes for earth to do one rotation and I got 31471401 seconds

Wow, Jack! Good point! Thanks for checking our math and stopping by Wonderopolis!

Wrong! your math is correct but you are wrong there isn’t actually 24hours in a day. There is 23hours 56min and 4.1 seconds in a day. So by this there would actually be 31,449,896.5seconds in a year!

Thanks for your comment, Matthew! The shorter time period you mention is called a sideral day, which is the time it takes the Earth to make a full rotation with respect to distant stars. However, as Earth turns also around the Sun, it has to turn a little bit more each day to find the Sun at the same place. So, in relation to the Sun, one day equals 24 hours (86,400 seconds). We’re glad to have you spending your seconds WONDERing with us!