“WOW!” The Infamous 1977 ‘Extraterrestrial Signal’

We still have no idea if this was our first call from ET. As a big fan of Carl Sagan’s book ‘Contact’ and the susequent film we like to think it might be – WOW – Deskarati

August 15, 1977: the night before Elvis Presley died, at 11:16 p.m. an Ohio radio telescope called the Big Ear recorded a single pulse of radiation that seemed to come from somewhere in the constellation of Sagittarius at the 1420 MHz hydrogen line, the vibration frequency of hydrogen, the most common molecule in the universe -exactly the signal ET-hunters had been instructed to look out for. The signal was so strong that it pushed the Big Ear’s recording device off the chart.

Jerry Ehman, the young Columbus, Ohio volunteer man who spotted it in the computer printout, scrawled the now infamous “WOW!” in the margin. The Big Ear team explored every possibility: military transmissions, reflections of Earth signals off asteroids or satellites, natural emissions from stars, but nothing fit. And most odd of all, the signal came from a blank patch of sky totally devoid of stars. The young engineer’s only thought was that it could have been beamed from a spaceship travelling through the universe in search of some sign of life.

Ohio State University researchers wondered if it was man’s first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. They trained the massive scope on that part of the sky for the next month, and have returned periodically since, with no repeat of the signal

And although many point to it as a possible extraterrestrial intelligence sighting, Ehman, now 54, says told the Cleveland Pain Dealer “We should have seen it again when we looked for it 50 times. Something suggests it was an Earth-bound signal that simply got reflected off a piece of space debris.”

Read more here TheDailyGalaxy

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