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Still Waters

The 'Wow!' Signal:One Man's Search for SETI'S

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For decades, Robert Gray has been trying to duplicate the most surprising and still-unexplained observation in the history of the search for extraterrestrial life.

Late one night in the summer of 1977, a large radio telescope outside Delaware, Ohio intercepted a radio signal that seemed for a brief time like it might change the course of human history.The telescope was searching the sky on behalf of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the signal, though it lasted only seventy-two seconds, fit the profile of a message beamed from another world.

Despite its potential import, several days went by before Jerry Ehman, a project scientist for SETI, noticed the data. He was flipping through the computer printouts generated by the telescope when he noticed a string of letters within a long sequence of low numbers---ones, twos, threes and fours. The low numbers represent background noise, the low hum of an ordinary signal.

As the telescope swept across the sky, it momentarily landed on something quite extraordinary, causing the signal to surge and the computer to shift from numbers to letters and then keep climbing all the way up to "U," which represented a signal thirty times higher than the background noise level. Seeing the consecutive letters, the mark of something strange or even alien, Ehman circled them in red ink and wrote "Wow!" thus christening the most famous and tantalizing signal of SETI's short history: The "Wow!" signal.

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Yes, the WOW signal.

I like that last part...

In a hundred years from now it's likely that we won't be limited to these giant dish things that stare at the sky and only see one little spot. It's possible that there will be some sort of technology that can look at the whole sky at the same time, with the same sensitivity as you get with a big dish, and perhaps, when we look, at some interval we'll see a flash, a signal, and maybe that's the way we'll find broadcasters, if any are out there. But in the meantime, you know, you have to keep a line in the water.

From another article...

“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. “Even if it were intelligent beings sending a signal,” he said in an interview, “they’d do it far more than once.

We should have seen it again when we looked for it 50 times.”

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Suppose that the wow signal only appears periodically, as discussed in the Atlantic article. It's not significant, then, that the signal has been listened for many times, without success. We have no idea what the repetition period could be. It might a year or a century. The only way to resolve this is to indefinitely monitor the region of space from which the signal appears to have come, on a 24 hour a day basis.

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I know WOW signal how about the Sun and its twisters ? Maybe its time ?

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As I was reading the article it reminded me of what I read once in the Ra Material. I marked the interesting bit in bold.

"Questioner: Is there any effort on the part of the Confederation to stop the Orion chariots from arriving here?

Ra: I am Ra. Every effort is made to quarantine this planet. However, the network of guardians, much like any other pattern of patrols on whatever level, does not hinder each and every entity from penetrating quarantine, for if request is made in light/love, the Law of One will be met with acquiescence. If the request is not made, due to the slipping through the net, then there is penetration of this net.

Questioner: Who makes this request?

Ra: I am Ra. Your query is unclear. Please restate.

Questioner: I don’t understand how the Confederation stops the Orion chariots from coming through the quarantine?

Ra: I am Ra. There is contact at the level of light-form or lightbody-being depending upon the vibratory level of the guardian. These guardians sweep reaches of your Earth’s energy fields to be aware of any entities approaching. An entity which is approaching is hailed in the name of the one Creator. Any entity thus hailed is bathed in love/light and will of free will obey the quarantine due to the power of the Law of One.

Questioner: What would happen to the entity if he did not obey the quarantine after being hailed?

Ra: I am Ra. To not obey quarantine after being hailed on the level of which we speak would be equivalent to your not stopping upon walking into a solid brick wall.

Questioner: What would happen to the entity if he did this? What would happen to his chariot?

Ra: I am Ra. The Creator is one being. The vibratory level of those able to breach the quarantine boundaries is such that upon seeing the love/light net it is impossible to break this Law. Therefore, nothing happens. No attempt is made. There is no confrontation. The only beings who are able to penetrate the quarantine are those who discover windows or distortions in the space/time continua surrounding your planet’s energy fields. Through these windows they come. These windows are rare and unpredictable.

Questioner: Does this account for what we call “UFO Flaps” where a large number of UFOs show up like in 1973?

Ra: I am Ra. This is correct."

So, my guess is that maybe radio signals are also quarantined, which would make sense, although I'm not sure how the guardians would go about hailing an EM wave. But since the whole universe is alive I guess there is no difference, just different levels of consciousness on a scale. EM radiation, a rock, a plant, an animal, a human, ET, social memory complexes, stars, logoi, same difference. Levels of evolution, steps on an endless staircase. So why not. A signal slipped through a window. Keep looking guys :D

Edited by Rolci

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its kind of funny how not so long after this signal was recorded funding had ceased for this project until recently..

this signal could have been the 'contact' we have all been looking for all this time but we just didn't have the right tools to interrupt it to the right code or into text or even where it came from...

for what Hazzard said about being able to look at it all now with the new technology.... increasing the width of the field will decrease the depth of field, if you have a dish that picks up a faint signal in a area and you used that dish to zoom in to get a better signal you could lose something else close by or in another part of space...

how i think this would work best is if you have 4 or more of the massive dishes (N,E,S,W) then have 3-4 for depth at each point, once the main dish (N,E,S,W) picks up a signal the other can basically zoom in to where it came from and then messages can be sent and hopefully received, satellites are being used all the time for space exploration and for help with discoveries on the planet so these could be left to carry on the current task's ahead instead of taking turns if a signal gets picked up...

thanks for reading

1337

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What if it was a passing ship or beacon of some kind?

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It was most likely space debris that reflected a terrestrial signal since I would hope any advanced race wouldn't unintentionally beam their presence to everyone...unless their warp core went critical...but now I'm being silly.

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It was most likely space debris that reflected a terrestrial signal since I would hope any advanced race wouldn't unintentionally beam their presence to everyone...unless their warp core went critical...but now I'm being silly.

That was seen as a possibility but the chances of that even happening are very low

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They should have detected the exact origin of the "Wow" signal to an exact star or other celestial radio source. Then the SETI team performs a close-up analysis and could made an important discovery, the find of an extraterestrial civilization intelligent enough to make regular contact with us on earth. But I guess we're not ready for an earth-shattering moment in our history, but we'll survive and learn how to be diplomatic with those species of aliens: we don't want anything to start an intergalactic war don't we?

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That was seen as a possibility but the chances of that even happening are very low

still are bigger chance of that scenario than alien contact was happening!

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Suppose that the wow signal only appears periodically, as discussed in the Atlantic article. It's not significant, then, that the signal has been listened for many times, without success. We have no idea what the repetition period could be. It might a year or a century. The only way to resolve this is to indefinitely monitor the region of space from which the signal appears to have come, on a 24 hour a day basis.

I have to agree, and even that level of monitoring might not be enough, after all we saw fit to send out the Aricebo message, it seems not imposible that another intelligent civilization, perhaps following a similar path of exploration to ourselves might do the same. I mean, we thought it was a good idea? The WOW! signal might also simply be a mark of achievement and not an attempt at communication.

Radio source SHGb02+14a is another conundrum, it came from an area that has no stars, but with black holes and the like hiding in space, could it not be a distorted or redirected signal?

Edited by psyche101

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It was most likely space debris that reflected a terrestrial signal since I would hope any advanced race wouldn't unintentionally beam their presence to everyone...unless their warp core went critical...but now I'm being silly.

Dr. Jerry Ehman has recanted that notion hasn't he?

It was also in a forbidden bandwidth, so one woud think if it was ours, it could only be from finite sources making it possible to identify wouldn't it?

Why would they not beam their presence to everyone? We have done it a couple times now, the Voyager probes have the golden records and we sent out the Aricebo message.

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Dr. Jerry Ehman has recanted that notion hasn't he?

It was also in a forbidden bandwidth, so one woud think if it was ours, it could only be from finite sources making it possible to identify wouldn't it?

Why would they not beam their presence to everyone? We have done it a couple times now, the Voyager probes have the golden records and we sent out the Aricebo message.

Well not only that but to my knowledge no-ones ever shown anything was there to 'reflect' a signal. Nor has any natural source ever been found in that direction which could account for it, or any natural source anywhere else that is even similar. But this is all above my pay-grade so I could be wrong but I've not ever read anything to suggest otherwise. So what was it?

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Too bad we didn't have SETI@home then...

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I dont know, but if it was intelligent, I doub it was directed intentionally at us.I mean the last communication from a probe before it dies out? or a signal from a vessel to another vessel, or a fossile signal from another civ? (yes it is possible that another civ, had the same or similar technological evolution as we have) There can be lots of explanations artifical or not. But our radio waves will still travel the universe when our sun becomes a red giant, why it should be different for another world?. So I go for the fossile signal. Why we didnt catch it again? IMO it was pure luck, perhaps some celestial object block the signal, a moon, planet? ect and that night for some unknown reasons a signal pass by. our tech limitations do the rest. To monitor that area 24/7 we need a spaceborne observatory. And for now we dont have it.

Edited by ~C.S.M~

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Radio source SHGb02+14a is another conundrum, it came from an area that has no stars, but with black holes and the like hiding in space, could it not be a distorted or redirected signal?

I dont find implausible, that there may be other life forms who benefit from a technology similar to ours. What I find implausible is that they direct a signal to us attempting to make a contankt (not impossible).

But we know that the signal came from that direction, but we dont know if it originated in that region or it was just passing by that region. So the signal may be whery old, and used for a different purpose than contacting us.

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Suppose that the wow signal only appears periodically, as discussed in the Atlantic article. It's not significant, then, that the signal has been listened for many times, without success. We have no idea what the repetition period could be. It might a year or a century. The only way to resolve this is to indefinitely monitor the region of space from which the signal appears to have come, on a 24 hour a day basis.

If another intelligent species sent a signal into the void of space, why in the heck would they make it repeat only once per century? Come on, that is just trying to add layers of excuses on top of an intriguing idea to force an outcome.

In a universe this large, it is not really credible we are the only intelligent species. But it is also not credible to assume that every now and then natural forces collude in such a way as to send out what almost looks like an intelligent signal once and never again.

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If another intelligent species sent a signal into the void of space, why in the heck would they make it repeat only once per century? Come on, that is just trying to add layers of excuses on top of an intriguing idea to force an outcome.

In a universe this large, it is not really credible we are the only intelligent species. But it is also not credible to assume that every now and then natural forces collude in such a way as to send out what almost looks like an intelligent signal once and never again.

We know nothing about the supposed extraterrestrial senders of the wow signal. They may, if they really exist, devote a limited amount of resources to contacting naive species, such as ourselves. If they sweep a narrow signal beam systematically in all directions, it will naturally take a good deal of time before they get back to us. Perhaps they have other uses for the transmitter as well, such as communicating regularly with civilizations they've already established conversations with.

If a more frequent schedule of attempted contact with us seems preferable, we must still deal with the fact that we do not know when these attempts might occur. We could have missed a number of these in the 35 years since the wow signal was received. Merely sporadic attempts to listen at the indicated frequency and direction in space have been made. A constant, indefinite monitoring might resolve the matter.

I'm not certain, but I think you are arguing for, not against, the possibility that natural forces could produce a convincing imitation of an intelligent radio signal. It's logically impossible to prove a negative-- such as to state that such a thing can never happen. Probability seems to weigh against it, however. A number a unusual phenomena, such as pulsars and natural MASERs have been discovered in space. These mimic some of the characteristics of artificial radio signals, but have, in relatively short order been understood as natural phenomena. This is not something that can be said for the wow signal.

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I need one of those SETI satellites.

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I need one of those SETI satellites.

Sign up for seti@home.

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I agree with the general consensus that we have no knowledge of why or who or even what sent the signal but I agree with the researcher. Keeping a line in the water so to speak is the only wise decision. Even if it never proves the signal's source, the search for it will help us understand a lot more about what we could or should do in concern towards reaching out to other civilizations.

Eventually our previous efforts will not be enough & in searching for the WOW signal we may find another route of reaching out we haven't thought of yet.

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The wow signal was found in the constellation Sagittarius, towards the center of our galaxy. It is above the horizon in some part of the world at any time. Several Earth-based radio observatories at appropriate locations could, together, keep the area under constant scrutiny. They could be used for other radio astronomy work when Sagittarius was not visible to them. The wow signal was very strong by radio astronomy standards. The 'dishes' wouldn't have to be especially large to receive it, should it ever be repeated.

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I always found this to be interesting, mainly because we haven't found it again or another one like it.

It would make sense to monitor that area where it was found for a long time.

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Well not only that but to my knowledge no-ones ever shown anything was there to 'reflect' a signal. Nor has any natural source ever been found in that direction which could account for it, or any natural source anywhere else that is even similar. But this is all above my pay-grade so I could be wrong but I've not ever read anything to suggest otherwise. So what was it?

Damn shame there has not been a repeat, as you say, just what was it? Some type of cosmological entity fooling us did the first detected pulsars, or indeed, first contact?

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