Tag Archives: space

Sun Transit – Fall 2013

You may have heard the phrase “Sun transit” before regarding a twice-yearly natural phenomenon that may cause temporary signal loss. But, what exactly is Sun transit?

Sun transit is also known as a “sun outage,” or “sun fade.” During the Spring and Autumn each year, the Sun lines up with all satellites in orbit, which can cause interference with services down here. This happens due to a massive amount of thermally generated radio frequency noise from the Sun. The interference can range from a bit of snow on your screen to a complete loss of services. Some people might not even notice any issue.

Sun transit impacts every satellite in orbit, so all satellite service providers and even cable providers may experience issues while this is happening. Because we currently have two satellites, the estimated interference times are different for each satellite, so you might lose signal on an English standard definition channel at a different time than on a high definition or French channel.

Here are the estimated times for possible Sun transit interference on both satellites across the country (all times are approximate and local):

Anik F1-R (English standard definition channels)

Location Start End Duration
Vancouver, BC 11:42 AM 11:56 AM Oct 7 – 14
Whitehorse, YK 11:40 AM 11:54 AM Oct 9 – 15
Calgary, AB 12:46 PM 1:00 PM Oct 8 – 15
Saskatoon, SK 12:49 PM 1:03 PM Oct 8 – 15
Yellowknife, NT 12:46 PM 1:00 PM Oct 10 – 17
Winnipeg, MB 1:53 PM 2:07 PM Oct 7 – 15
Resolute Bay, NU 1:50 PM 2:04 PM Oct 11 – 18
Toronto, ON 3:02 PM 3:16 PM Oct 5 – 13
Montreal, PQ 3:04 PM 3:18 PM Oct 6 – 13
Fredericton, NB 4:06 PM 4:20 PM Oct 6 – 13
Halifax, NS 4:08 PM 4:21 PM Oct 5 – 13
Charlottetown, PEI 4:07 PM 4:21 PM Oct 6 – 13
St. John’s, NL 4:39 PM 4:53 PM Oct 6 – 13

Anik F2 (All HD, French standard definition channels, Galaxie, radio stations, and Pay Per View)

Location Start End Duration
Vancouver, BC 11:59 AM 12:13 PM Oct 7 – 15
Whitehorse, YK 11:56 AM 12:10 PM Oct 9 – 17
Calgary, AB 1:03 PM 1:17 PM Oct 8 – 15
Saskatoon, SK 1:07 PM 1:17 PM Oct 8 – 15
Yellowknife, NT 1:03 PM 1:16 PM Oct 10 – 17
Winnipeg, MB 2:10 PM 2:24 PM Oct 7 – 15
Resolute Bay, NU 2:06 PM 2:20 PM Oct 11 – 18
Toronto, ON 3:19 PM 3:33 PM Oct 5 – 13
Montreal, PQ 3:20 PM 3:34 PM Oct 6 – 13
Fredericton, NB 4:23 PM 4:37 PM Oct 6 – 13
Halifax, NS 4:24 PM 4:38 PM Oct 5 – 13
Charlottetown, PEI 4:24 PM 4:37 PM Oct 6 – 13
St. John’s, NL 4:55 PM 5:09 PM Oct 6 – 13

At this point, information for Anik G1 is not yet available as this is the first Sun transit the satellite has experienced. If you are missing any of the newest channels that we’ve added during the month of October, and the outage lasts for only a few minutes, chances are that it was Sun transit. If the outage lasts more than 20 minutes, there could be an issue with your system, and we recommend contacting us.

If you want estimated times more specific to where you live, Telesat offers a sun transit calculator on their website. Just make sure you’ve selected Anik F1R and Anik F2 for your satellites, “Ku” for your frequency band, and 1 metre for the antenna diameter so you get the most accurate results. It’s not exact as our satellite dishes are smaller than a metre in diameter, but it will give you a pretty good idea of when to expect interference.

So, what are some things that could help you during Sun transit?

  • If you are experiencing any loss of signal, wait until the estimated time for interference is over before trying any resets or calling in for troubleshooting.
  • Wait until after the estimated interference time for your area is over prior to activating any new receivers, or adjusting your dish.
  • If you are a fan of Pay Per View movies, it might be a good idea to order something that isn’t during the estimated interference time so that you don’t miss part of your show.

If your service interruption continues after the estimated time (give or take about 10 minutes), please contact us for assistance. On that note, if you have any questions regarding Sun transit, or anything else, feel free to leave us a comment!


Ten Facts About the Baikonur Cosmodrome

It’s been nearly five months since the successful launch of Anik G1 from Kazakhstan. We think this was a very proud moment in the history of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but there are plenty of other neat things to know about it. Here are some notable facts about the Baikonur Cosmodrome:

1. The Baikonur Cosmodrome was founded in 1955.

2. Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth was launched from here on October 4, 1957.

3. Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space on April 12, 1963. He completed a successful orbit of the Earth in a Vostok 3KA spacecraft (Vostok 1). The launchpad is now known as “Gagarin’s Start.”

4. Valentina Tereshkova followed Gagarin shortly afterwards, becoming the first woman in Space on June 16, 1963 in Vostok 6.

5. The first piece of the International Space Station (called Zarya) was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on November 20, 1998. The main component of the Russian section of the ISS (Zvezda) was later launched on July 12, 2000.

6. A town named Leninsk was built around the Cosmodrome to provide housing, schools, and other amenities to those who worked there. Leninsk was renamed to Baikonur in 1995.

7. Baikonur is home to the world’s largest industrial railway, which is used to transport spacecraft and other parts required through all stages of launch preparation. The railway is 1524 mm gauge (also known as “Russian gauge”), which means that there is 1,524 mm – five feet – between the wheels on the train cars.

8. The Cosmodrome takes up more than 14,000 square kilometres, stretching 160 kilometres east-to-west, and 88 kilometres north-to-south.

9. The Russian government leases the land that the Baikonur Cosmodrome is situated on land in Kazakhstan for a fixed rate of $115 million USD per year. The agreement lasts until 2050, although Russia is in the process of building the Vostochny Cosmodrome to reduce dependency on Baikonur; construction is slated for completion in 2018.

10. Czechoslovakia, Poland, India, and France were among the countries that began developing their space programs at the Baikonur Cosmodrome under the Interkosmos Program.


The Anik Satellite Series

As you’ve likely heard, Anik G1 successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 16, 2013. G1 is the newest member of the Anik family, which has a proud spot in Canadian satellite history. Here’s a brief rundown of the rest of the Anik series:


The name “Anik” means “little brother” in Inuktitut. The name was submitted in a national competition in 1969 by Julie-Frances Czada of St. Leonard, Quebec. It was selected due to the symbolism of bringing Canadians together and building a national brotherhood. The Anik series has been developed by Telesat, a Canadian company headquartered in Ottawa.

Anik A Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik A1 November 9, 1972 July 15, 1982
Anik A2 April 20, 1973 October 6, 1982
Image from Telesat Canada

CBC was able to reach the Canadian north, and allowed extended phone service to the region as well. CBC was the first broadcaster to use a satellite for distribution of service on a full-time basis.

Anik B Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik B December 15, 1978 December 1, 1986
Image from Online Journal of Space Communication.

Anik B was used by the Globe and Mail to transmit copy to printing plants across Canada, and carried eastern and western feeds of CBC, CBC Parliamentary Television Network, CITY-TV Edmonton, CHCH Hamilton, and TVOntario.

Anik C Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik C1 April 12, 1985 May 5, 2003
Anik C2 June 18, 1983 January 7, 1998
Anik C3 November 11, 1982 June 18, 1997
Sally Ride in space. Image from NASA.

Anik C3 was used to carry Canada’s first pay-TV networks, including Superchannel (now Movie Central), First Choice (now The Movie Network), Premier Choix (Now Super Écran), Knowledge Network, and more. C3 was launched by the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003. Anik C2 was launched by the Space Shuttle Challenger, which disintegrated after launch on January 28, 1986. The mission that launched C2 was also saw the first American woman in space, Sally Ride.

Anik D Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik D1 August 26, 1982 December 16, 1991
Anik D2 November 8, 1984 January 31, 1995
Image from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

The D series carried channels from CANCOM (now Shaw Broadcast Services), who was the first carrier to offer consumers direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services for their television needs.

Anik E Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik E1 September 26, 1992 January 18, 2005
Anik E2 April 4, 1991 November 23, 2005
Image from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Anik E1 was the most powerful satellite in commercial use for North America at the time of its launch. It was able to carry 56 television channels, compared to the standard of 16 during this period.

Anik F Series

Satellite Name Date Launched Date Decommissioned
Anik F1 November 21, 2000 Still in service
Anik F1R September 9, 2005 Still in service
Anik F2 July 17, 2004 Still in service
Anik F3 April 10, 2007 Still in service
Image from Boeing.

When it was launched, Anik F1 was the most powerful communications satellite ever built. This was Star Choice’s (Shaw Direct’s) first satellite in the Anik series. The solar panels degraded faster than anticipated, so Anik F1R was launched as a replacement for North America; F1 is still in use for South America.

Anik F2 is more than ten times larger than A1, and is still one of the largest and most powerful satellites in use. It introduced the use of Ka-band transponders, which allowed low-cost two-way satellite delivery of broadband Internet in remote regions of Canada through Xplornet.