Signals From Outer Space
Imagine that it starts with way out in the green mountains, and a slow zoom in on an introverted researcher / scientist working the graveyard shift at a SETI radio observatory jumps out of his seat in surprise when the red light blinks on the control panel. “We’re getting a signal!” he shouts into a phone as needles dance across paper chart recorders, and scientists rapidly converge on the scene. At some point someone yells, “Get me the President!” at the person whose job it is to get presidents and let me tell you…this have actually happened for real.
Because on August 15th 1977, just a few hours before Elvis Presley died? “only that is weird enough” a strange signal was detected by a radio telescope called the Big Ear in Ohio though the ensuing drama was considerably more subdued. The volunteer who spotted the pattern on the paper logs circled the data and wrote “Wow!” in the margin. The radio telescope was observing space as part of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program, and it was the most compelling signal the receiver had recorded in its fourteen years of operation. It was powerful enough to push the Big Ear’s monitoring device off the charts. The signal came from the direction of the constellation of Sagittarius with 22 stars this constellation is also known to have planets, Sagittarius has more known planetary host stars than any other constellation. Do you believe that`s a coincident? I don`t. Think about the fact that Sagittarius is not that far from the Pleiades both in reality and mythology, where Sagittarius also figures in the tale of Orion and the Pleiades. Do you believe that`s a coincident? I don`t.
The letters and numbers in the printout are maybe not at all misinterpreted as a message. The progression 6EQUJ5 actually stands for, A sequence in need of completion? B matrix in need of expanding? C computer malfunction? Look at the ASCII and you`ll find out that it`s VERY equivalent to a binary code? I think that`s the key to this old message.
The signal lasted seventy-two seconds at about 1420.456 MHz before it faded away. The volunteer who found and circled the data in the paper printout was Jerry Ehman, who was amazed at the signal’s intensity and what a narrow range of frequencies it appeared in. Big Ear Seventy-two seconds also happened to be the exact length of time it would take for the Earth to rotate the Big Ear through a signal from space. He did some analysis of the data, and by all indications this powerful, narrow-band radio signal was from outside of our solar system. But was it sent by an advanced civilization? To answer straight away? Probably YES.
“Wow” remains the strongest and clearest signal ever received from an unknown source in space, as well as the most fascinating and unexplainable. The signal’s original discoverer Jerry Ehman doesn’t care to speculate on its source, and he remains scientifically skeptical ( that’s just how he is). “Even if it were intelligent beings sending a signal,” he said in an interview, “you think they’d do it far more than once. We should have seen it again when we looked for it 50 times.” but then again, you`ll never know.
SETI started with Frank Drake in 1960 and has been running continuously for almost 50 years now. The SETI at home program started in 1999 at the University of California-Berkeley. Since its inception over 5 million people have joined the program with around 1.5 million that are current users. SETI currently uses the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico for all of its data for the SETI at home program. This telescope is due to close in 2011 due to budgetary cuts and lack of funds so SETI will have to get its data from other telescopes. Fortunately there are a good number of them being built and they should be able to continue the at home program indefinitely.
SETI has received a clear alien signal before, that came from outer space. In Apr 29, 2010 Of course, they have no idea what the signal means and may never know despite their best efforts to decode it but the signal is still the discovery of a lifetime just as the WOW signal was. This more recent signal is about 20 seconds in length and repeats every 88 seconds. It is coming from a star system approximately 50 light years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Radio galaxies and other sources of “fake” signals have been ruled out and the signal is definitely from an artificial source. The signal was first detected by the SETI at home program and was later confirmed by several independent radio telescopes. KTVU-TV, Channel 2 in San Francisco Bay area, reported in Apr 29, 2010 : “Across the globe, researchers searching for signs of life in space were abuzz this week with word that a mystery signal has been picked up by a giant radio-telescope in Puerto Rico. Now the dilemma is how do you answer it? Dan Wertheimer of the UC Berkeley SETI Project, said the dilemma is compounded by the fact that the signal may never be completely decoded.
“We probably won’t be able to decode it, we know something’s out there, but we won’t know much about their civilization if we can`t decode it, he said.” What happened to this signal?
The “WOW” signal that SETI had detected on August 15, 1977. It was confirmed to not come from any galaxy or star emitting radio waves or any home based signal interfering with it. The signal lasted a total of 72 seconds but was never detected again. Over the years, numerous attempts have been made to confirm the signal but the location has not produced anything since that one night. This signal got its infamous “WOW” title by the researcher Jerry Ehman who wrote the word next to the findings on the computer printouts. Could this been the answer to the Arecibo message, sent out in 1974? The signal nicknamed the “WOW” is the best piece of data Seti has ever found. Unfortunately, this signal has not been able to repeat itself in the area that the signal was first detected. 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. It has been the focus of attention in the mainstream 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. But more signals have been detected like these ones. At the beginning I thought this was one of the two “alien” signals detected as coming from one of the 54 “earth-like” planets just discovered by Kepler But then I found this image from 2006 Are instead these 2 new “WOW signals” even available to the public? And why does SETI need a signal is repeated more and more to be able to analyze it ? Don’t they record the signals for further future processing ? I know I would. . . More :
Watch Alien Contact – Full SETI Documentary