What Is The 33-Year Cycle?

In the 33-year cycle, the positions of the earth, the sun, and the moon return to their original positions. The earth and moon both have their own orbits, which means that their positions in space naturally change as time goes on. After 33 years, they return to the same position they had 33 years ago.

The earth orbits around the sun for 365 days, while the moon orbits around the earth for 354 days. This means that when the earth restarts its orbit, the moon is already 11 days ahead. In order to keep the lunar calendar aligned with the solar calendar, a 33-year cycle was developed.

As a result, after 33 years, the moon has already orbited an additional earth year (363 days) that allows it to offset and catch up with how far ahead of the earth’s orbit.

The calculation

365 earth days for a year * 33 years = 12045 days

(354 earth days for a lunar year * 33 years) + (11 days ahead for 33 years) = 12045

Based on the calculation above, after 33 years, an extra earth year has been added to the moon’s orbit and the earth and moon positions are back in sync with each other. However, this calculation is based on rounded-up numbers of days, and not accounting leap years. If accounting for leap years, the actual 33-year cycle is 33 years, 213 days and 22.22 hours.

33-year cycle in astronomy

As of writing, the 33-year cycle has no significance in the world of astronomy, it is only a fun fact that is often used as an example when comparing different calendars. However, some scientists believe that the 33-year cycle could potentially be used to predict major celestial events, such as solar flares or meteor showers.

33-year cycle in media

The Netflix show, Dark, introduced the 33-year cycle. It portrays that time travel is only possible back and forth 33 years from their current year. This has sparked a lot of discussion about the 33-year cycle, and whether or not it is an actual phenomenon in our universe. It’s safe to say that this was just a creative invention for their time travel concept!


The 33-year cycle is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the earth, sun, and moon positions go back to their original positions after 33 years. While this concept does not have any significant impact in astronomy or media at the moment, some scientists believe that it could be used to predict major celestial events in the future. Whether or not this theory will be confirmed remains to be seen.