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Dave 31st March 2006 11:37 AM

Sky Satellite
New Zealand's Sky TV is off the air today due to a problem with their satellite. According to Sky, the problem was caused by yesterday's solar eclipse which meant the satellite's batteries were depleted. They are saying that the batteries will need to be recharged before service can be restored.

Now I'm not an expert but I am something of a space enthusiast. For the life of me I can't see how the eclipse could have caused this problem. For starters, the satellite is in a geosynchronous orbit, which means it gets pretty much the same amount of daylight and shadow that we get here in New Zealand. The solar eclipse lasted just a few minutes so it couldn't possibly have had that much effect.

I'm also not convinced that the shadow of the eclipse would even have passed over the satellite at all. The eclipse was a very long way from us.

Sounds like a very dodgy explanation to me. I'm considering writing to Sky after this has blown over and asking for more details.

Dave 31st March 2006 05:04 PM

I guess I won't need to contact Sky afterall. Within the last half hour a story has appeared on which quotes Brian Carter of Wellington's Carter Observatory. He agrees that the eclipse could not have caused the fault, saying "I think they are just thinking of things to blame."

Hehe, let's see you wriggle out of this one Sky.

Dave 31st March 2006 09:49 PM

Sky is now calling the eclipse a "compounding factor" and being somewhat evasive about the real cause. I don't know why, I doubt whether anyone really cares what caused it, they just want to know that steps are being taken to prevent it happening again.

Moral of this story: Don't make stuff up. It's not a good look when you get caught out.

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