A Strange Signal That We Received 42 Years Ago From Space: The Wow! Signal

Are we all alone in this universe? This is one question that has been puzzling researchers and scientists since years. There have been many events that bring the human civilization to the conclusion that there is a possibility of extra terrestrial life.. but it is really the case? Let's explore

One of the most mysterious and popular events in the history of space exploration to magnify the existence of extra terrestrial life is the Wow signal.

What is the wow signal?

There was an intriguing radio signal detected on August 15, 1977. It was a 72 second transmission coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. I was thought to be a call from extra terrestrials. Because the radio signal was 30 times more Powerful than the average radiation from deep space, a volunteer Astronomer who was watching the telescope named it the wow signal. He circled the reading and wrote “Wow!: next to it, hence the signal’s name. Haunted and excited at the same time, cosmologists and astronomers from all over the world sent more than 10,000 twitter messages plus videos that were beamed into deep space as a big HELLO from the Earth. No evidence has ever arrived about the wow signal and no repeat message from the same direction has ever been detected.

Wow signal
Wow_signal Credits: Big Ear radio observatory and North American Astrophysical Observatory.

So what next?

Innumerous attempts were made by Ehman and other astronomers to recover and identify the signal. The signal was expected to occur three minutes apart in each of the telescope's feed horns, but unfortunately that did not happen. Ehman unsuccessfully searched for recurrences in the months after the detection.

Six 14-hour observations were made at positions in the vicinity, but nothing like the Wow! signal was detected.

Did we find any solution to this mystic signal?

Professor Antonio Paris, of St Petersburg College, has now discovered the explanation: A pair of comets. The work was published in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

These comets, called as 266P/Christensen and 335P/Gibbs, were found to have clouds of hydrogen gas millions of kilometers in diameter surrounding them. The Wow! Signal was detected at 1420MHz, which is the radio frequency hydrogen naturally emits. Notably, the team has verified that the comets were within the vicinity at the time, and they report that the radio signals from 266/P Christensen matched those from the Wow! signal.

Ming boggling isn't it? We are the means for the universe to understand itself. Let's allow curiosity to spill over...

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