National Geographic looking to respond to "alien" Wow! signal from 1977

June 27th, 2012 by Bob Yirka in Astronomy & Space / Space Exploration
A scan of a color copy of the original computer printout, taken several years after the 1977 arrival of the Wow! signal. Credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO).


A scan of a color copy of the original computer printout, taken several years after the 1977 arrival of the Wow! signal. Credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO).

(Phys.org) -- Back in 1977, on August 15, to be exact, a mysterious radio transmission was received by astronomers working at an Ohio State radio observatory. It lasted all of seventy two seconds, and was so unique that one of the impressed researchers, Jerry Ehman, scrawled the word “Wow!” on the printout, giving a name to the only such transmission every recorded. It’s never been heard again and scientists are still at a loss trying to explain its source. Now, to commemorate the anniversary of the reception of the Wow! transmission, the National Geographic Channel is sponsoring a Twitter messaging event that will result in Tweets from people from all walks of life having their messages combined into one giant Tweet back to those who may have sent us the Wow! message, perhaps inciting a similar response from beings somewhere out there beyond the edges of our ability to see them.

Not everyone is convinced the was sent from alien beings of course, but in this event, that doesn’t matter. Anyone who wants to participate is invited to send a Twitter message to #ChasingUFOs (the name of a new show to be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel) between the hours of 8pm and 3am EST Friday/Sat June 29-30. All messages sent will be mashed together and broadcast in the general direction from which the Wow! transmission is believed to have come (in the constellation Sagittarius) on August 15, 35 years to the date after the reception of the mysterious signal.

The Wow! transmission has had astronomers scratching their heads ever since it was first received by OSUs Big Ear observatory. Its signal was 30 times stronger than all the other normal ambient noise, making it really stand out, but despite extensive research, scientists still can’t come up with any reasonable explanation for its source, leaving those with less scientific leanings to conclude it must have come from aliens. It’s those people that the National Geographic Channel is trying to reach with its new show, Chasing UFOs. In the show, a team of investigators will be sent around the world to investigate claims made by people that say they have seen extraterrestrials. Thus far the team has already looked into the infamous Roswell incident, where eyewitnesses swore they saw an alien craft crash into the desert floor, and the more recent sighting of a mysterious triangle of green lights hovering over Phoenix just last September. The team examines the evidence and tries to offer reasonable explanations for what has been found.

As an added bonus, those who add their 140 characters or less to the grand alien tweet, will be able to see their message, streamed along with others crawling along the bottom of the screen when NGC airs a program covering the Twitter event on August 15.

© 2012 Phys.Org

"National Geographic looking to respond to "alien" Wow! signal from 1977." June 27th, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-06-national-geographic-alien-wow.html