The Wow! Signal Gets An Answer

The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope on August 15, 1977. The signal lasted fir 72 secinds and was 30 times stronger than background emmissions. Upon reviewing the data a few days kater, astronomer Jerry R. Ehman discovered the anomaly and wrote “Wow!” next to the reading he’d circled on the computer printout, leading to the event’s widely used name. The Wow! signal, represented as “6EQUJ5” has been touted as one if the best evidences for extraterrestrial life. In fact, on the 35th anniversary of its discovery, Arecibo Observatory beamed a digital stream consisting mostly of 10,000 Twitter messages with the hastag #ChasingUFOs toward the area of the signal’s origin in the Sagittarius constellation. The Twitter messages were solicited by the National Geographic Channel ostensibly  for the purpose of sending the signal but more to promote one of its TV series.

Well, at long last the Wow! signal has received an answer. And that answer is Nope! 

We didnt receive an answer from an extraterrestrial intelligence; we figured out what it really was.

In 2016, the Center for Planetary Science suggested that the signal could have been caused by comets. From 27 November 2016 to 24 February 2017, the Center for Planetary Science conducted 200 observations in the radio spectrum to validate the hypothesis. A peer-reviewed paper, entitled Hydrogen Line Observations of Cometary Spectra at 1420 MHZ,” confirms their hypothesis. The paper was published in the Summer 2017 edition of the the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

Thus ends the tale of the Wow! signal… not with a Wow! but with a Huh.


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