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Was 'Wow!' alien signal triggered by comets ?


Posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2016 | Comment icon 40 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 (40)

Tags: SETI, Extraterrestrial, Comet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #31 Posted by Merc14 on 6 June, 2016, 18:15
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 the signal 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 their information via past knowledge (whic... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by SNR on 6 June, 2016, 18:42
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 don't mind if you questi... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by OverSword on 6 June, 2016, 18:50
LOL!  You're funny.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Merc14 on 6 June, 2016, 18:51
There is nothing to question as the article has only offered a hypothesis!  The authors haven't said it is the cause of the WOW signal, they have merely presented their evidence and asked for others to verify if it is legit through further observation.  That is why your obviously angry response to the article is so bizarre!  
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
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 receive is in my opinion still rather intriguing. Eek, that is a tough one. Electromagnetic signals are waves in the electromagnetic spectrum and these can be modulated in ... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by Merc14 on 6 June, 2016, 19:37
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.
Comment icon #38 Posted by SNR on 6 June, 2016, 23:37
I think you meant Sturm 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 but If you're going to be thrasonical I guess I'll just have to perambulate elsewhere my old palybean.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Merc14 on 7 June, 2016, 0:18
Comment icon #40 Posted by DigitalDreamer on 15 February, 2017, 23:50
I agree,the government is run by humans susceptible to mistakes and stupidity.These "men in black" boogeymen stories only frighten children,They do not have anywhere near the control they want to be portrayed as having in the exaggerated media outletts like movies and books.


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