Wow! Signal

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Wow! Signal

Post by Sui on Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:39 am

The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while working on a SETI project at The Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University. The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-solar system origin. It lasted for 72 seconds, the full duration Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again. Much attention has been focused on it in the media when talking about SETI results.

Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment "Wow!" on its side. This comment became the name of the signal.

Interpretation of the paper chart

The circled letter code 6EQUJ5 describes the intensity variation of the signal. A space denotes an intensity between 0 and 0.999.., the numbers 1-9 denote the correspondingly numbered intensities (from 1.000 to 9.999...), and intensities of 10.0 and above are denoted by a letter ('A' corresponds to intensities between 10.0 and 10.999..., 'B' to 11.0 to 11.999..., etc). The value 'U' (an intensity between 30.0 and 30.999...) was the highest ever detected by the telescope. The intensity in this case is the unitless signal-to-noise ratio, where noise was averaged for that band over the previous few minutes.

Time variation

The Big Ear telescope was fixed and used the rotation of the Earth to scan the sky. At the speed of the Earth's rotation, and given the width of the Big Ear's observation "window", the Big Ear could observe any given point for just 72 seconds. A continuous extraterrestrial signal, therefore, would be expected to register for exactly 72 seconds, and the recorded intensity of that signal would show a gradual peaking for the first 36 seconds—until the signal reached the center of Big Ear's observation "window"— and then a gradual decrease.

Therefore, both the length of the Wow! signal, 72 seconds, and the shape of the intensity graph would correspond to a possible extraterrestrial origin.

More infos : Wikipedia


What do you guys think? Extraterrestrial or not?
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Re: Wow! Signal

Post by Battler on Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:40 am

I'd like to believe there's something else out there. If you don't believe in extraterrestrials, or Gods, or anything existing besides humans and animals on earth... it gets kind of depressing.

Because then you realize you are on a big rock floating through space. Alone.

Hold me. ;_;
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Re: Wow! Signal

Post by Boring Man on Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:46 am

Yeah, right?

Regardless of what you believe in--gods, aliens, spirits, something--you've just got to believe that we aren't alone. If you don't, well--...damn, that's lonely.

There are too many other stars out there, too many other planets, for us to be alone. It may be a rare thing, scientifically, for everything to just 'fall into place just right' for life to spring up, but given the number of bodies out there and the sheer size of space...there has to be something more than just us.
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Re: Wow! Signal

Post by Sui on Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:50 am

Well, they already found frozen bacterias in space, in our solar system, so it wouldn't be unlikely to find life elsewhere. They may even be life on the Europe satelite (Which is entirely covered with a frozen ocean.) Maybe is there fishes living in the water under the satelite's surface.
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Re: Wow! Signal

Post by Boring Man on Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:56 am

Entirely possible. Even in hostile environments, life could rise; it wouldn't have to be anything like we know, as it could have developed using entirely different building blocks, a different direction altogether...

On earth, there are fish who live in frozen environments which basically have a natural antifreeze for blood and other natural bodily fluids...for an alien lifeform, this would be just another possibility...
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Re: Wow! Signal

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