Customers

Sun Outages

Sun Outages February 24-March 8, 2014

An astronomical phenomenon called sun outage disrupts cable TV service twice a year around the spring and summer equinoxes. At these times, the sun’s low path in the sky takes it directly behind a communication satellite that transmits signals to a station on earth. The sun’s rays interfere with the signals between the communication satellite and the earth station. A sun outage occurs because the earth station cannot distinguish between the energy from the sun and its intended communication signal.

Our customers may notice the effects of the solar outage — picture will degrade with increased tiling and/or pixilation, black screen or "One Moment Please" on the screen. You might even lose certain channels for a little while. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent the mighty sun from interfering with your live TV viewing. Some channels will be impacted as early as 9:30 am and some will be impacted as late as 1:30 pm, but in most cases any channel should not be impacted for more than about 20 to 30 minutes per day.

The duration of the outage is inversely related to the size and frequency of the satellite receive dish. The larger the antenna, the shorter the duration and intensity of the outage. Similarly, the smaller the dish, the great the duration and intensity.

Peak outage time occurs when the sun, satellite and the earth station are exactly aligned with each other. The interference declines gradually as the sun starts moving away from the satellite and earth station alignment, until it is no longer a factor—until the next interference season when the sun starts heading south (northern hemispheric in autumn).

Click here for a list of times and channels when this is most likely to occur.