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The Big Ear Wow! Signal (Dr. Jerry R. Ehman)

The Big Ear Wow! Signal (Dr. Jerry R. Ehman)

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Published by José Pedro Gomes
"The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University.The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-solar system origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again. Much attention has been focused on it in the media when talking about SETI results.

Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment "Wow!" on its side. This comment became the name of the signal.

The circled alphanumeric code 6EQUJ5 describes the intensity variation of the signal. A space denotes an intensity between 0 and 1, the numbers 1 to 9 denote the correspondingly numbered intensities (from 1.000 to 10.000), and intensities of 10.0 and above are denoted by a letter ('A' corresponds to intensities between 10.0 and 11.0, 'B' to 11.0 to 12.0, etc.). The value 'U' (an intensity between 30.0 and 31.0) was the highest detected by the telescope, on a linear scale it was over 30 times louder than normal deep space. The intensity in this case is the unitless signal-to-noise ratio, where noise was averaged for that band over the previous few minutes.

Two different values for its frequency have been given: 1420.356 MHz (J. D. Kraus) and 1420.4556 MHz (J. R. Ehman). The frequency 1420 is significant for SETI searchers because, it is reasoned, hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, and hydrogen resonates at about 1420 MHz, thus extraterrestrials might use that frequency on which to transmit a strong signal. The frequency of the Wow! signal matches very closely with the hydrogen line, which is at 1420.40575177 MHz. The bandwidth of the signal is less than 10 kHz (each column on the printout corresponds to a 10 kHz-wide channel; the signal is only present in one column).

The original print out of the Wow! signal, complete with Jerry Ehman's famous exclamation, is preserved by the Ohio Historical Society."

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wow!_signal)

----

Bibliographical Information:

Title: The Big Ear WoW! Signal: What We Know and Don't Know About It After 20 Years
Author: Dr. Jerry R. Ehman
Publisher: Big Ear Radio Observatory and North American AstroPhysical Observatory

Date creation: 1 September 1997
Last Updated: 3 February 1998

Original source (http://www.bigear.org/wow20th.htm)
Original site (http://www.bigear.org/default.htm)

Bookmarked and edited by José Pedro Gomes (http://www.scribd.com/ZeTomes)
in the interest of sharing reliable and congruent knowledge

Tasfastas (May, 2011)
"The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University.The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-solar system origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again. Much attention has been focused on it in the media when talking about SETI results.

Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment "Wow!" on its side. This comment became the name of the signal.

The circled alphanumeric code 6EQUJ5 describes the intensity variation of the signal. A space denotes an intensity between 0 and 1, the numbers 1 to 9 denote the correspondingly numbered intensities (from 1.000 to 10.000), and intensities of 10.0 and above are denoted by a letter ('A' corresponds to intensities between 10.0 and 11.0, 'B' to 11.0 to 12.0, etc.). The value 'U' (an intensity between 30.0 and 31.0) was the highest detected by the telescope, on a linear scale it was over 30 times louder than normal deep space. The intensity in this case is the unitless signal-to-noise ratio, where noise was averaged for that band over the previous few minutes.

Two different values for its frequency have been given: 1420.356 MHz (J. D. Kraus) and 1420.4556 MHz (J. R. Ehman). The frequency 1420 is significant for SETI searchers because, it is reasoned, hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, and hydrogen resonates at about 1420 MHz, thus extraterrestrials might use that frequency on which to transmit a strong signal. The frequency of the Wow! signal matches very closely with the hydrogen line, which is at 1420.40575177 MHz. The bandwidth of the signal is less than 10 kHz (each column on the printout corresponds to a 10 kHz-wide channel; the signal is only present in one column).

The original print out of the Wow! signal, complete with Jerry Ehman's famous exclamation, is preserved by the Ohio Historical Society."

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wow!_signal)

----

Bibliographical Information:

Title: The Big Ear WoW! Signal: What We Know and Don't Know About It After 20 Years
Author: Dr. Jerry R. Ehman
Publisher: Big Ear Radio Observatory and North American AstroPhysical Observatory

Date creation: 1 September 1997
Last Updated: 3 February 1998

Original source (http://www.bigear.org/wow20th.htm)
Original site (http://www.bigear.org/default.htm)

Bookmarked and edited by José Pedro Gomes (http://www.scribd.com/ZeTomes)
in the interest of sharing reliable and congruent knowledge

Tasfastas (May, 2011)

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: José Pedro Gomes on May 06, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/07/2012

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THE BIG EAR WOW! SIGNAL
 
What We Know and Don't Know About It After 20 Years
Written by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman
Original Draft Completed: September 1, 1997Last Revision: February 3, 1998
(Send Comments to: contact AT ohioargus.org )
Notes to the Reader:
The entries in the Table of Contents below are links within thisdocument (i.e., bookmarks). Clicking on one takes you to the start of that section. This is helpful if you are not able to read the entiredocument in one sitting.

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