Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Tag: History Channel

Looking Back at Past Eclipses

Did you know that scientists believe they have evidence of a total solar eclipse dated as far back as November 30, 3340 B.C.? According to our cable channel, History, “A series of circular and spiral-shaped petroglyphs at the Loughcrew Megalithic Monument in County Meath, Ireland, are believed to correspond to a total solar eclipse visible in the region on that date.”

Since then, documents around the world have recorded findings of a solar eclipse, from the Shu Ching (an ancient Chinese book of documents), to ancient Greek historian, Herodotus. In 585 B.C., Herodotus recorded that the total solar eclipse, “brought about an unexpected ceasefire between two warring nations, the Lydians and the Medes, who had been fighting for control of Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) for five years.” Find more about historic eclipses here on the History channel’s website.

Just as these were recorded, the eclipse on August 21, 2017 will go down in history. Please be sure to view the natural phenomenon safely. If you question the authenticity of your solar glasses, check out our blog for a checklist given by NASA.

The Origin of Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil did in fact see his shadow this morning, meaning six more weeks of winter. While Groundhog Day is one of the oddest traditions in the United States, most people don’t actually know where the whole idea started. Great Plains Communications looked to our cable channel, the History Channel for more on the origin of this bizarre holiday and we would like to share a few facts we found.

The idea originally stemmed from an ancient Christian tradition called Candlemas Day. History Channel describes Candlemas Day as a day when, “clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter,” with the candles, “representing how long and cold the winter would be”. From there, the Germans expanded on this idea and chose a hedgehog as a way of predicting the weather. Once German settlers made their way to America, they continued the tradition in Pennsylvania, but switching to the locally common groundhog rather than a hedgehog.

The first Groundhog Day celebration was on February 2, 1887 at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. It was created after a local newspaper editor, Clymer Freas, pitched the idea to a group of businessmen and groundhog hunters known as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. They found the area of Gobbler’s Knob where the inaugural groundhog has led to the Punxsutawney Phil we know today.

As the idea of a groundhog predicting weather picked up popularity, additional areas have adopted their own traditions of a local creature helping with the annual weather forecast. In Vermillion, Ohio, they have the wooly bear caterpillar, where if the insect has more orange than black coloring on its furry body, the coming winter will be mild. Places have also adopted their own local groundhog to make their predictions, such as General Beau Lee in Atlanta, GA, Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh, N.C., and Jimmy in Sun Prairie, WI.

Just as he saw his shadow this morning, Phil has seen his shadow 102 times in high contrast to the 17 times he has not. No matter if you are bundling up to get through the next six weeks of winter or celebrating the few more weeks for cooler temperatures, Great Plains Communications would like to wish everyone a wonderful Groundhogs Day.

This Day in History – October 11

October 11, 1968 marks the date of the first successful mission of the United States’ Apollo program to carry a crew into space. Not only was the launch a technical success from the Florida Cape Kennedy Air Force Station, but the crew was able to transmit the first live television broadcast from space. Great Plains Communications would like to highlight our cable channel, History Channel, and their “This Day in History” for additional events that happened on October 11.

If you are not a current Great Plains Communications cable customer and would like to find out more information about what is offered in your area, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

 

Photo Source: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/apollo/apollo7/html/s68-48787.html 

Throwback Thursday – John Wayne Receives Best Actor Oscar in 1970

In recognition of Throwback Thursday, Great Plains Communications wants to remember the legendary John Wayne. As on this day in 1970, he received his one and only Best Actor Oscar for his starring role in Henry Hathaway’s Western True Grit.

The History Channel’s This Day in History highlights the actor stating, “Wayne appeared in some 150 movies over the course of his long and storied career. He established his tough, rugged, uniquely American screen persona most vividly in the many acclaimed films he made for the directors John Ford and Howard Hawks.”

Wayne later battled cancer, first lungs and later stomach, which ultimately took his life at the age of 72 on June 11, 1979. Though on this day, back in 1970, he received his only Best Actor Oscar at the 42nd Annual Academy Awards, Wayne was known to be “one of Hollywood’s most enduring performers” and gave outstanding performances in films such as Stagecoach, Red River, The Searchers and The Shootist.

The History of a Leap Year

Approximately every four years, February 29 is added to our calendars and we experience a Leap Year. This has been going on since before we can remember, but do you know just how long that is or why the mysterious extra day is added? Great Plains Communications wants to answer some of your questions and share the interesting history of the Leap Year.

 

Why Do We Have a Leap Year?

The modern calendar is made up of 365 days a year, but it takes the Earth roughly 365.2421 days to orbit around the sun. A quarter of a day might not seem like much, but over centuries it adds up. According to the History Channel, “To ensure consistency with the true astronomical year, it is necessary to periodically add in an extra day to make up the lost time and get the calendar back in sync with the heavens.”

 

When Did It Begin?

Originally discovered by the Egyptians, it wasn’t until the reign of Julius Caesar in 14 B.C. that the leap year was brought to Europe. Caesar was the one to change the calendar to 12 months and 365 days. By adding one day every four years, the “Julian Calendar” looked to have found a way to fix the slight inconsistency.

Though, due to the fact that there is a .242 day difference between the solar and Roman calendars, rather than an exactly .25, adding a day every four years leaves a slight surplus of roughly 11 minutes. Doing the math, that would leave Caesar’s calendar off one day every 128 years.

In hope of fixing the error, Pope Gregory XIII revised the calendar in 1582 to the one we use today. As we still recognize the leap year every four years, the adjustment is rather mathematical. “Leap years occur every four years except for years evenly divisible by 100 and not by 400. For example, the year 1900 was not a leap year because it was divisible by 100, but not 400.”¹

 

 

  1. Andrews, Evan. The History Channel. Why do we have leap year? http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/why-do-we-have-leap-year. 2014

Throwback Thursday – This Day in History

Great Plains Communications is teaming up with the History Channel to bring you a Throwback Thursday to This Day in History. Here are just a few things that happened, while you can find a full listing on the History Channel website.

  • 1942: Eisenhower took command
  • 1950: The Korean War began
  • 1956: The Last Packard produced – “Ask the Man Who Owns One”

Enjoy the History Channel, along with a long lineup of other exceptional channels when you have cable through Great Plains Communications. Call our Custer Response Center to sign up today at 1-855-853-1483, and a representative will be happy to help you.