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Has the source of the Wow! signal been found ?

November 28, 2020 | Comment icon 60 comments

The famous 'Wow!' signal. Image Credit: Big Ear Radio Observatory / NAAPO
An amateur astronomer has pinpointed the most likely star system from which the signal may have originated.
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. Astronomer Jerry Ehman, who was the first to examine the computer readout, famously wrote the word 'Wow!' on the page.

Back in 2017, astronomers headed up by Antonio Paris from St. Petersburg College, Florida, determined that a passing comet may have produced the signal, but now amateur astronomer (and UM forum member) Alberto Caballero believes that he has an alternative explanation.

If this was in fact an intelligent alien signal, he argued, then it is most likely to have originated from an Earth-like extrasolar world orbiting a Sun-like star.
By searching the Gaia database (which contains data on 1.3 billion stars compiled by the team at ESA's Gaia observatory), he was able to pinpoint the most likely candidate - a star with the rather uninspiring name 2MASS 19281982-2640123 which is almost identical the the Sun and is situated in the area of the sky where the signal originated.

While there's no guarantee that the signal did come from a planet around this particular star, it does paint it as an interesting candidate for further study in the coming years.

Who knows, perhaps there really is someone there attempting to communicate with us.

Source: | Comments (60)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #51 Posted by kalon1701 1 year ago
The answer to this question is full of "ifs, but's and maybe's" Are we alone in the universe is a question that we have, probably, been asking for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Frank Drank presented a way of, theoretically, answering that question, but his formula was found to be flawed, If there is intelligent life beyond our solar system, it is highly unlikely we* will make physical contact, it will be a "confirmed" artificial radio signal. That said, I would love to see an extra terrestrial vehicle set down on the White House lawn. One question that intrigues me is, "how much would ... [More]
Comment icon #52 Posted by Big Jim 1 year ago
I agree with darn near everything you said, but I'm perhaps a little less optimistic about them coming in peace.  We like to think that being more technologically advanced also means being more enlightened, inhabiting a higher plane of existence.  But almost every advancement we have made has come out of seeking better ways to destroy things, including each other.  We identify older cultures by their spearpoints and rate today's powers by their nuclear arsenals.  If our existence is not an exception in the universe then I suspect that our path is not unique either.  Life has been in a battle f... [More]
Comment icon #53 Posted by Golden Duck 1 year ago
Comment icon #54 Posted by Golden Duck 1 year ago
I've found there are many problems with the Drank Equation.
Comment icon #55 Posted by Hazzard 1 year ago
That equation is nothing more than an educated guess.
Comment icon #56 Posted by astrobeing 1 year ago
It's an equation which you decide what value you want it to be equal to, then you put in the numbers to produce that value.
Comment icon #57 Posted by Golden Duck 1 year ago
I was trying to make a joke about the mythical Drank Equation, not the widely known and controversial Drake Equation.
Comment icon #58 Posted by kalon1701 1 year ago
I really should proof read before I post 
Comment icon #59 Posted by kalon1701 1 year ago
I thought it was funny 
Comment icon #60 Posted by astrobeing 1 year ago
Is that the one that determines your blood alcohol content?

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