Oct 022015
 

In the next few weeks it will be “solar outage” time again.

A solar outage (or sun outage) happens twice a year when the sun, UK TV satellites and the earth are in alignment, and there is an interruption or distortion of satellite signals caused by interference from solar radiation.

When this happens, as the sun passes directly behind the UK TV satellites there can be a loss of some of the weaker satellite signals. This loss of channels is due to the Sun’s radiation swamping the satellite signal.

solarout

This happens around March and October time, around the time of the spring and autumn equinoxes.

This happens in the morning in the first weeks of October at around 1030-1100. At its peak, it can last for about 15 minutes.

It will cause a loss of the weaker signals on the UK beams of Astra 2E Astra 2F and Astra 2G satellites, and will result in a loss of some UK TV channel such as BBC ITV C4 and Five channels.

If I have done the calculations correctly,the table below shows when the key and peak times of the outage will occur (times are CET summertime)

dd/mm/yyyy | hh:mm:ss| hh:mm:ss |Duration
—————–|————|————
05/10/2015 | 11:37:02 | 11:45:37 |08:35
06/10/2015 | 11:35:15 | 11:46:50 |11:35
07/10/2015 | 11:34:06 | 11:47:21 |13:15
08/10/2015 | 11:33:26 | 11:47:31 |14:05
09/10/2015 | 11:33:05 | 11:47:15 |14:10
10/10/2015 | 11:33:04 | 11:46:44 |13:40
11/10/2015 | 11:33:24 | 11:45:54 |12:30
12/10/2015 | 11:34:14 | 11:44:29 |10:15
13/10/2015 | 11:36:08 | 11:42:08 |06:00

On the flip side of the day, at around 2230-2300, the satellites are in the shadow of the earth. This loss of solar power results in the satellites swapping to their on board batteries, again resulting in a small drop in power to the satellite and slightly weaker signals for people in fringe reception areas.

The outage in the mornings can actually be useful. When the outage happens, the dish is aligned to the satellites and the sun. You can use this time to check to see if there are any shadows from obstructions on the dish. Overhanging trees, branches etc can reduce the signals, and so using the shadows at that time you can identify what could cause a drop in your satellite dishes performance.

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