Julian day is the continuous count of days since the beginning of the Julian Period and is used primarily by astronomers, and in software for easily calculating elapsed days between two events (e.g. food production date and sell by date).[1]

The Julian Day Number (JDN) is the integer assigned to a whole solar day in the Julian day count starting from noon Universal time, with Julian day number 0 assigned to the day starting at noon on Monday, January 1, 4713 BC, proleptic Julian calendar (November 24, 4714 BC, in the proleptic Gregorian calendar),[2][3][4] a date at which three multi-year cycles started (which are: Indiction, Solar, and Lunar cycles) and which preceded any dates in recorded history.[a] For example, the Julian day number for the day starting at 12:00 UT (noon) on January 1, 2000, was 2 451 545.[5]

The Julian date (JD) of any instant is the Julian day number plus the fraction of a day since the preceding noon in Universal Time. Julian dates are expressed as a Julian day number with a decimal fraction added.[6] For example, the Julian Date for 00:30:00.0 UT January 1, 2013, is 2 456 293.520 833.[7] Expressed as a Julian date, right now it is 2459162.4281713. [refresh]

The Julian Period is a chronological interval of 7980 years; year 1 of the Julian Period was 4713 BC (−4712).[8] The Julian calendar year 2020 is year 6733 of the current Julian Period. The next Julian Period begins in the year AD 3268. Historians used the period to identify Julian calendar years within which an event occurred when no such year was given in the historical record, or when the year given by previous historians was incorrect.[9]