Friday, May 06, 2016

New Theory on the WOW! Signal

There is something new in the story of the WOW! Signal. This is signal detected by radio astronomer Jerry Ehman in 1977. It was a strong blast that lasted for 72 seconds and was never repeated. One explanation for the signal was that it was from an alien civilization on a far distant planet (which, of course, would describe any planet not in our solar system). He circled that point and wrote, “Wow!” next to it.

The WOW! Signal
Now a fellow at Florida’s St. Petersburg College, Antonio Paris, is suggesting he has a possible explanation for the signal. It wasn’t from another planet in another solar system, but from a pair of recently discovered comets. Certainly not as exciting as a suggestion that the signal came from aliens. His theory is just that, a theory, but he hopes to be able to gather additional information.

You can read the whole story here:


At any rate, this might provide us with some sort of an answer about this. Seems to me that this is sort of like the Ramey Memo. We have an ambiguous stimulus that is just beyond our ability to clarify. Maybe this effort will give us an answer about the Wow! Signal, though I suspect the outcome might by like that of the Ramey Memo. Nice try but no cigar…

3 comments:

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

This is an interesting story. It is also interesting how much fruitless effort and investment has gone into following up on "wow". We will probably see an indication as defenders and detractors gird their loins to argue indefinitely.

albert said...

@Rusty,
Since SETI just got a $100M gift from a Russian oligarch, they don't even have to justify the original project anymore. If the comet explanation is 'proven' (it's a really good theory), then SETI will have a perfect batting average: .000
. .. . .. --- ....

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

@albert. I definitely don't mean to diminish the work of the SETI folks. SETI@Home was a really brilliant piece of work an organizationally they have accomplished some significant results. I just think their approach is misguided and that effort could be better applied elsewhere.