The “wow” signal:A scientific event hardly anyone knows about


The Wow! signal, an intriguing radio signal detected on Aug. 15, 1977 that some thought was a call from extraterrestrials. The 72-second transmission was picked up by the Big Ear radio observatory at Ohio State University, coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

Because the radio signal was 30 times more powerful than the average radiation from deep space, a volunteer astronomer named Jerry Ehman who was watching the telescope data scrawled “Wow!” on a computer printout, leading to the signal’s moniker. No evidence ever arrived actually linking the transmission to an alien civilization, and no repeat message from the same direction has ever been detected, and the Wow! Signal remains a mystery.

Dr Ehman, who had been working on a project for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, noticed the surprisingly strong signal in a column of alphanumerical data.

With a red pen he scrawled the word ‘Wow!’ in the margin and circled the sequence.

Astronomers ruled out that the signal came from Earth and could find nothing in our solar system to have produced it.

Although it is quite a scientific event is has stayed below the radar for one reason. The day after the ‘wow signal, on August 16 1977, Elvis Presley died.






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The Guardian



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