Wow! Signal Revisited?


Image of the original printout and notation.

Piggy-backing on my visit to Area 52 an other interesting UFO story has caught my attention.

In 1977 Ohio State University Radio Observatory, known as Big Ear,  was in full operation. For its part in Ohio State University’s SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project Big Ear searched for extraterrestrial radio signals. Back in those days the data gathered from the radio telescope was processed by a mainframe computer to be printed out. Each print out had to be gone over by hand. How archaic, right? I’m sure there is an app for that now.

In August of that year a man named Jerry Ehman was pouring over the printouts. He spotted the alphanumeric sequence “6EQUJ5”,  circled it and wrote “WOW!” in the margin. This would become to be known as the Wow! signal.

It may not seem very wow-worthy until you understand the significance of the find. At that time, scientists hypothesized that since hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and emits a signal at a frequency of 1420 megahertz, extraterrestrials may send out a signal similar to it. The idea was that extraterrestrials may think that other intelligent beings would recognize the signature of hydrogen thus recognize the signal as intelligent communication. The Wow! signal was significantly more powerful than previously recorded ones and lasted for a longer period, 72 seconds. Even more astonishing, it was very close to 1420 megahertz! Unfortunately the signal was never picked up again despite attempts to scan the area of space that it originated from. Big Ear was dismantled in 1998.

On the 37th anniversary of the Wow! signal an independent group of researchers led by Joshua P. Warren commenced the Arecibo Project and transmitted radio messages into space from areas around Puerto Rico. The messages included GPS coordinates and a request to appear there. They placed a live webcam to stream images from the GPS location. Several anomalies were captured, including a high-pitch tone that accompanied a saucer-shaped object. When the team examined the tone they found it to be acutely similar to the Wow! signal. The team has placed all of their findings at and are requesting that others with expertise analyze the evidence.

I’m certainly not a video, audio, or UFO expert but the images are interesting. I’m going to try and keep tabs on this, I’m curious if other experts can verify the findings. If that’s the case, let’s just hope that whoever or whatever decided to follow the GPS coordinates on the footage (and in the future) is friendly. But in the words of Peter Venkman, the whole problem with aliens is you just can’t trust them. Occasionally you meet a nice one, Star Man, E.T., but usually they turn out to be some kind of big lizard!


One thought on “Wow! Signal Revisited?

  1. Pingback: Wow! Signal, Might Not be so Wow! | Joy Yehle

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