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Thread: The WOW! Signal - 30 Years Later

  1. #1 The WOW! Signal - 30 Years Later 
    Ron
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    It's been over 30 years since the famous "WOW!" signal was detected by SETI astronomers. It remains to this day as the best candidate for an extraterrestrial signal.

    What is your opinion. Was it:

    A) A genuine signal transmitted by intelligent beings?
    B) Some sort of anomaly from space (but NOT an intelligent signal)?
    C) Some sort of terrestrial interference?
    D) Caused by a glitch in the equipment that recorded the signal (despite the consensus that the equipment did not malfunction)?
    D) I dunno. Weird.

    For further reading...

    http://www.bigear.org/shostak_wow_20021205.htm


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  3. #2  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    I'd say probably B, with the rest of it A. Didn't someone say it was a pulsar or something?


    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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  4. #3  
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    Always pessimistic is the Atheist. Maybe that statement warrants a new thread in the 'philosophical' topic .

    Happy new year by the way KALSTER . And that comment above is not actually direct at you :P.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    Happy new year by the way KALSTER
    And to you, svwillmer :wink: In fact, happy new year to all!
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  6. #5  
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    "The Big Ear telescope was fixed and used the rotation of the Earth to scan the sky. At the speed of the earth's rotation, and given the width of the Big Ear's observation "window", the Big Ear could observe any given point for just 72 seconds. An extraterrestrial signal, therefore, would be expected to register for exactly 72 seconds, and the recorded intensity of that signal would show a gradual peaking for the first 36 seconds -- until the signal reached the center of Big Ear's observation "window" -- at which time it would show a gradual decrease.

    Therefore, both the length of the Wow! signal, 72 seconds, and its shape would correspond to an extraterrestrial origin."
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  7. #6  
    Time Lord
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    Maybe that's an area of the sky we should be trying to focus more attention on, to see if the result can be replicated?
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Maybe that's an area of the sky we should be trying to focus more attention on, to see if the result can be replicated?
    The assumption is that it's improbable the result can be replicated.
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  9. #8  
    Ron
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Maybe that's an area of the sky we should be trying to focus more attention on, to see if the result can be replicated?
    There has indeed been many subsequent (but unsuccessful) observations of that particular region of the sky.
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  10. #9  
    Time Lord
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    My thinking is that, if that same culture ever sends another radio signal. (Or really I guess the word is "sent" like a million years ago), it will probably come from that part of the sky. It wouldn't come from any other part of the sky.

    On the other hand, maybe it came from a passing space ship.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    My thinking is that, if that same culture ever sends another radio signal. (Or really I guess the word is "sent" like a million years ago), it will probably come from that part of the sky. It wouldn't come from any other part of the sky.

    On the other hand, maybe it came from a passing space ship.
    Or a nuclear war destroyed life on that planet, so while we're all waiting for a signal to come from them, they're all six feet under. Meanwhile, in another part of the sky, a technologically advanced civilization seeking contact, is sending out a signal.

    As luck would have it, a crazed conspiracy theorist is convinced that we've already contacted aliens, and the WOW! signal is the government's way of keeping our attention on one area of the sky. Away from the real alien signals. So he's looking on the other side of the sky, and he gets the message.

    He sends one back. But because the signal took millions of years to reach us, and millions of years for him to send his reply, by the time it gets there, the aliens have already consumed all the natural resources on that planet and have subsequently migrated to another planet.

    But here's the kicker. The planet they've migrated to, is the exact same planet that sent the original signal.
    "First we build the tools, then they build us" - Marshall McLuhan.
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  12. #11  
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    Urm.............Why cannot is be explained be natural phenomena then ?
    I mean, doesnt an atmoic explosion give off narrowband frequencies too ?

    This is interesting....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxy70...eature=related
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Could be a photo mediated signal from the future or something and has become very distorted, it sounds like a song.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  14. #13  
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    Dont get me wrong, Im sure its a dead certainty that there are other planets out there with life, its just that i dont believe that we will ever find them.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  15. #14  
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    They say that given enough time a monkey with a typwriter could reproduce the works of WS. Perhaps given 50,000 million galaxies each with 100 trillion stars (or whatevere) and the enormous amount of planets this was a truly random signal from space (have a listen to recordings of the chirps that eminate from Jupiter).

    Definitely NOT (intelligent)aliens though, as just like God there is no proof of their existence.
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    I once came up with an idea to have a computer increment pixels on a computer screen from 0 (black) to 255 (white) for each and every pixel in order. So pixel 1 (upper left) 0-255 then increment the next pixel to the right of it one when the first loops back to zero..etc. In theory if you were to allow the computer to finish to the very last pixel on say a 640x480 pixel display you would have seen a black and white photo of everything there was to see. This would include stuff that was real and stuff that was imaginary. It would include every single plan to every single device that could ever be created as well as all those that would not really work. It would show pictures of everything that could be in every possible position (yes creepy) . Of course it would take longer to complete then the universe has time for.

    So in the end I really think it is possible for a random signal to come from space that is in fact in appearance very intelligent looking. Trying to get it to reproduce is an astronomical undertaking.
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  17. #16  
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    You do not need to go through the full 256 steps for each pixel, 0 for black 1 for white, next just count half way as the upper set will be the negative of the lower set, - I too once thought of this but even a 16bit by 16 bit image results in 0.5 x (255^32) combinations. If you had a 4x5 pixel pattern which took 1 second per iteration (to allow time to recognise/reject/accept) then you would be looking at about 275 hours to cycle through, for every extra pixel you would need to double the total time, 40 pixels about 30,000 years 59 pixels would take 15 billion years to complete, and again that's only using black and white not the 255 shades in between!
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