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Previous peak charts position #43
Previous peak charts position in subgenre #2
March 21, 2011
Story behind the song
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 . 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.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....
On the 30th anniversary of finding the signal, Ehman updated the findings and his opinions on the Wow! signal. He wrote:
" Thus, since all of the possibilities of a terrestrial origin have been either ruled out or seem improbable, and since the possibility of an extraterrestrial origin has not been able to be ruled out, I must conclude that an ETI (ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) might have sent the signal that we received as the Wow! source. The fact that we saw the signal in only one beam could be due to an ETI sending a beacon signal in our direction and then sending it in another direction that we couldn't detect. Of course, being a scientist, I await the reception of additional signals like the Wow! source that are able to be received and analyzed by many observatories. Thus, I must state that the origin of the Wow! signal is still an open question for me. There is simply too little
data to draw many conclusions. In other words, as I stated above, I choose not to "draw vast conclusions from 'half-vast' data".
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