Satellite Solar Outage

 

Satellite Solar Outage

A solar outage (or sun outage) happens twice a year around the times of the Spring and Autumn. In the northern hemisphere, sun outages occur before the March equinox (February, March) and after the September equinox (September and October).

The solar outages occur when the sun’s path in the sky takes it directly behind the satellite and swamps the signal with interference.

During this time there can be an interruption or loss of satellite signals caused by interference from solar radiation, which can last about 10-15 minutes per day.

When 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.

Satellite Solar Outage

 

The solar 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.

On the flip side at night, satellites pass through the umbra, or area of total eclipse, forcing the satellite operators to switch to built-in batteries, compensating for the absence of sunlight.
For some weeks either side of total eclipse, satellite reception in fringe areas is disrupted owing to the reduced amount of sun the satellite’s solar panels receive as they pass through the penumbra, or outer shadow.

Satellite Solar Outage

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.

 

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