Solar Outages

Patty Terhune

Solar outages occur every February/March and September/October of each year.

For those of you who are interested in astronomy, solar outages occur 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.

What you need to know about solar outages.
Twice a year, during the spring and fall, you may experience some degree of television interference due to a phenomenon known as “solar outages.”

What is a solar outage?
A solar outage is an interruption in satellite signals caused by interference from solar radiation. The interference is caused when the sun is in direct line with a communication satellite and the sun’s radiation overwhelms the satellite signal.

How long do they last?
Interruption in TV service due to solar outages can last up to several minutes a day.

How do they affect watching TV?
During this time, you may experience interference with picture quality and sound when watching television. Solar outages do not affect internet or phone service.

Can Solar Outages be Prevented?
Unfortunately, there is technically nothing that can be done to prevent solar outage effects. Please note that solar outages are not TV outages.

If any group of channels is affected for more than 15 minutes, or if all channels are affected at one time, there may be a problem that is unrelated to solar outages. In this case, please call our repair line at (503) 631-2345.