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In 1989, Milli Vanilli was “blaming it on the rain,” but for the next few weeks cable TV and satellite customers will be blaming it on the sun. That’s because starting October 5th, cable TV and satellite customers will experience a phenomenon known as “sun outages”. Sun outages occur for a week each Spring and Fall, right around the time of the equinoxes (when the sun crosses the celestial equator and day and night are of equal length.)
During this time of year, the sun’s lower path across the sky causes it to line up directly behind communication satellites. The communication satellites are trying to send signals to receiving satellite dishes here on earth, however, the sun’s strong solar radiation interferes with the satellite signal.
Here is a video from INS Tech Talk explaining this phenomenon further.
This interference in the satellite signal causes interruptions in your cable TV and satellite services. You may experience picture pixilation or freezing, along with audio distortion. These interruptions can affect different channels at different times and can last from a few minutes up to 15 minutes. It is also important to note that these interferences may also impact your DVR recordings.
Unfortunately, solar interference is just a normal part of satellite operations and affects all satellites. There is technically nothing we can do to prevent them from occurring. So, the best advice we can offer is to be patient and “blame it on the sun”.