As you watch a thunderstorm, it’s hard to miss the immense power from a strike of lightening. Most people aren’t aware that the Sun also has the ability to create a magnetic disturbance similar to lightening. When energy from the Sun expands, solar flares are created, better known as sunspots. These disturbances have the potential to affect TV services twice a year during February/March and September/October. You might notice some channels periodically showing a fuzzy signal, sparkles, or even a total loss of the channel. Typically lasting 5 to 15 minutes, the sunspot activity should not cause any worry as it will pass.

So what exactly causes the disruption in your channels? As the satellites orbit, they eventually will align between the earth and sun. As a result of the mini-eclipse the satellite has formed, the sun’s rays overpower the transmission from the satellite. It is important to note that the effects brought on by sun spot activity is not a cable outage and there is really nothing Great Plains Communications, or any other cable provider, is able to do. The sun outages are often country-wide, and the only thing we can all do is wait for it to pass. Luckily, after 5 to 15 minutes, your program should air as normal.

If the problem has not subsided after 20 minutes, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and they will be sure to have our technicians look into the issue. For more information on sun spots and the current level of solar activity, visit NASA’s website at http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml.

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