As found on the Naval Research Laboratory's website:
Q7. What is a satellite eclipse period ?
A7. Since GOES is in a geosynchronous orbit, the sun will yearly traverse a +/- 23.5 degree angle perpendicular to the Earth’s equator (GOES orbit plane). As a result, near the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes the Earth disk will periodically occult the sun, from a GOES perspective. Essentially, there are two eclipse seasons for each GOES spacecraft. Each eclipse season spans a 48-day period, symmetric around the equinox and the sun occultation lasts for a maximum of 72 minutes/day during the equinox. Each GOES spacecraft utilizes a solar array that converts sunlight into electricity in order to power the satellite. Each day during the eclipse season the sun is blocked by the Earth and sunlight is not available to the GOES solar array. Therefore, the energy needed to power the instruments is not available and the instruments are powered off. There is typically a 0–3 hour outage of imagery each day as GOES progresses through eclipse season. The maximum outage of 3 hours will occur at or near the equinox.
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