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Monday, September 17, 2012

The 'Wow!' Signal- message from an Alien world!

When Jerry Ehman sat at his kitchen table on Aug. 18, 1977, and saw six numbers and letters on the computer printout in front of him — six symbols that have become one of the grandest riddles in modern science — he chose the simplest expression of all. He took a red pen, circled the letters and then wrote

Image courtesy of the OSU RO and NAAPO
from NPR.org
Jerry Ehman was a professor at Ohio State University volunteering with SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. He may have become the first man ever to receive an intentional message from an alien world. Ehman was scanning radio waves  which were computer records of sounds coming in from deep space, hoping to randomly come across a signal that bore the hallmarks of one that might be sent by intelligent aliens, when he saw his measurements spike. The signal lasted for 72 seconds, the longest period of time it could possibly be measured by the array that Ehman was using. It was loud and appeared to have been transmitted from a place no human has gone before: in the constellation Sagittarius near a star called Tau Sagittarii, 120 light-years away.

Ehman wrote the words "Wow!" on the original printout of the signal, thus its title as the "Wow! Signal." All attempts to locate the signal again have failed, leading to much controversy and mystery about its origins and its meaning.

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