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Was 'Wow!' alien signal triggered by comets ?


Posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2016 | Comment icon 39 comments

The famous Wow! signal may not be quite what it seems. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 John Masterson, CSIRO
The famous 'Wow!' signal picked up in 1977 could turn out to have a rather mundane explanation.
Astronomers have been listening out for extraterrestrial signals for years, but one case - that of a strange signal picked up by a school telescope at Ohio State University 40 years ago - has since remained one of the most tantalizing and perplexing examples ever recorded.

Originating in the globular cluster of M55 in the constellation Sagittarius, the peculiar signal lasted approximately 72 seconds and has never been heard again since. Astronomer Jerry Ehman, who was the first to examine the computer readout, famously wrote the word 'Wow!' on the page.

The signal would remain a mystery for years, but now a recently published study has cast doubt on the idea that it may have come from an intelligent extraterrestrial source by suggesting that it was instead triggered by two comets that had not been detected at the time.

Antonio Paris, professor of astronomy at St Petersburg College in Florida, maintains that the two comets could have emitted enough hydrogen to produce the signal that was picked up.

While he has yet to confirm these conclusions, Paris intends to test his theory by examining the same two comets when they pass by the Earth again in 2017 and 2018.

If he is right then he will have solved one of the most intriguing mysteries in modern astronomy.


Source: AOL News | Comments (39)

Tags: SETI, Extraterrestrial, Comet


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #30 Posted by SNR on 6 June, 2016, 17:37
1 minute ago, Merc14 said: There is a chance any WOW signal "slip past earth" every second of every day, so what? It doesn't take some conspiracy for this to happen it is just that the galaxy is so massively large that it is impossible to listen to all frequencies, all the time form the entire sky. SETI or any telescope picks a part of the sky they think is fertile grounds for whatever they are researching (in SETI's case, a technologically advanced society) andthen "listen" across asmany frequencies as possible Daft how? The EM spectrum is pretty much what it is so what are you s... [More]
Comment icon #31 Posted by Merc14 on 6 June, 2016, 18:15
15 minutes ago, SNR said: 50 minutes ago, Merc14 said: merc. For a start get of your high horse. SO asking WTF you meant with your poorly worded post is me speaking from my high horse? The "know-it-alls" were scientists simply putting forward a possible cause for thesignal with the caveat that further observations need to be made. The hope is others will use this hypothesis to see if they get similar signals from other comets. Why this offends you is the real mystery here. Yes now it is very clear to me, you don't like people questioning your beliefs. You wrote "Also even scientists idea... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by SNR on 6 June, 2016, 18:42
3 minutes ago, Merc14 said: SO asking WTF you meant with your poorly worded post is me speaking from my high horse? The "know-it-alls" were scientists simply putting forward a possible cause for thesignal with the caveat that further observations need to be made. The hope is others will use this hypothesis to see if they get similar signals from other comets. Why this offends you is the real mystery here. Yes now it is very clear to me, you don't like people questioning your beliefs. You wrote "Also even scientists ideas change over time and seeing as most people on UM get thei... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by OverSword on 6 June, 2016, 18:50
On 1/16/2016 at 7:36 AM, geraldnewfie said: The signal probably been picked up more then once but the government is stopping the public to know this info because it would cause chaos LOL! You're funny.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Merc14 on 6 June, 2016, 18:51
4 minutes ago, SNR said: I still don't know how to multi quote but hey.. Yes your high horse. Before the big UM shake up you and I were friends. You were defensive of your fello skeptics then & nothings changed. The know it all's I was referring are sertainly not scientists but your chums. I'll be expecting a volly from them too. Aren't I the lucky one. No one said anything about relevance but you so stop switching my words to make your point seem stronger. I never once said all science is irrelevant .I never got offended so there's no real mystery.I never made any excuses and I really... [More]
Comment icon #35 Posted by SNR on 6 June, 2016, 19:17
Ok. I (for the record) believe in ET's.I don't believe they visit us though & as for that bloody signal.. It was probably nothing artificial. It was probably natural in origin. Everything about the universe blows my mind. There's enough wonder & beauty without the need for other intelligent life forms (real or fiction) but I can see why people hold on to the dream of a repeat (wow) signal.
Comment icon #36 Posted by badeskov on 6 June, 2016, 19:35
18 hours ago, SNR said: So let me get this clear. Every part of the heavens is being listened toand the 'wow'frequency (among others) in all directions 24hrs a day? No, far far from it. Sadly, we do not have the technology to do that yet. nor am I even convinced it would matter given how fast signals die out unless that they are aimed at us. No. We do not (as in the human race) possess the resources to do this yet. Well, maybe we do, but it would be extremely costly. Not by us (and by us I mean us Earthlings), no. Others, who knows. doubt it though. Just from Earth, sadly. But what we recei... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by Merc14 on 6 June, 2016, 19:37
13 minutes ago, SNR said: Ok. I (for the record) believe in ET's.I don't believe they visit us though & as for that bloody signal.. It was probably nothing artificial. It was probably natural in origin. Everything about the universe blows my mind. There's enough wonder & beauty without the need for other intelligent life forms (real or fiction) but I can see why people hold on to the dream of a repeat (wow) signal. FIne. you could've just said so without all the Sturm Un Drang. I too believe there is likely other civilizations in our galaxy and neither do I believe they are visiting... [More]
Comment icon #38 Posted by SNR on 6 June, 2016, 23:37
3 hours ago, Merc14 said: FIne. you could've just said so without all the Sturm Un Drang. I too believe there is likely other civilizations in our galaxy and neither do I believe they are visiting but I haven't a clue where the WOW signal came from. Could be two comets or an unknown type of star or another civilization. I don't have a clue and neither do I have a dog in the fight but if these guy figured it then bravo for them. Just goad we have folks brilliant enough to put all these things together to come up with a new hypothesis and that is what is important IMHO. I think you meantS... [More]
Comment icon #39 Posted by Merc14 on 7 June, 2016, 0:18
41 minutes ago, SNR said: I think you meantSturm und Drang(German pronunciation:[??t???m ?nt ?d?a?], literally "Storm and Drive", "Storm and Urge", though conventionally translated as "Storm and stress" Merc thanks for educating me butIf you're going to be thrasonicalI guess I'll just have to perambulate elsewhere my old palybean.


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