For the next few weeks, reception of some cable channels might be temporarily interrupted each day due to sun outages.
Sun outages occur each spring and fall, and they affect all geostationary communications satellites that beam network signals to cable companies. As the sun’s path across the sky gets higher each day in spring, there are times when it is in a direct line behind a communication satellite that is sending signals to a receiving satellite dish here on earth. When the dish antenna is looking into the sun, the interference from the sun overrides the signals from the satellite. This is when a sun outage occurs.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent sun outages. Each satellite we receive network signals from will experience this interference at various times, depending upon its position on the horizon. During this time, you may experience interference with picture quality and sound when watching television; however, sun outages do not affect Internet, telephone or Video OnDemand services.
Solar interference is an inherent part of satellite operations, and the effects will be seen on most channels and will occur during various times of the day. Interruptions typically last from five to ten minutes and only occur during daylight hours. The duration of the outage is inversely related to the size and frequency of the satellite dish. The larger the antenna, the shorter the duration and intensity. Similarly, the smaller the dish, the greater the duration and intensity.
Peak outage time occurs when the sun, satellite and the earth station are exactly aligned with each other as shown in the picture below. The interference declines gradually as the sun starts moving away from the satellite and earth station alignment.