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The mystery of the “Wow” signal may have been solved

J-P Mauro - published on 07/17/17

Suspected alien signal may have been produced by comets.

Since its discovery in 1977, the “Wow” signal has been suggested to be a transmission from an extra-terrestrial intelligence (ETI). The radio waves were fist detected by astronomer Jerry Ehman using Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope, which has since been dismantled.

Scientists were able to determine that the frequencies did not originate on Earth. The telescope was directed toward a group of stars called Chi Sagittarii in the constellation Sagittarius. The discovery got its name from the handwritten note Ehman put next to a numerical representation of the radio waves, stating “Wow!”

Now, Science alert reports, we may have found conclusive evidence to dissuade the ETI theory. Antonio Paris, of St. Petersburg College, has claimed the radio waves were emitted by two comets:

These comets, known as 266P/Christensen and 335P/Gibbs, have clouds of hydrogen gas millions of kilometres in diameter surrounding them. The Wow! Signal was detected at 1420MHz, which is the radio frequency hydrogen naturally emits. Notably, the team has verified that the comets were within the vicinity at the time, and they report that the radio signals from 266/P Christensen matched those from the Wow! signal.

Paris has published these findings in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences. The comets, which were only discovered after 2006, were not known to Ehman when he discovered the “Wow” signal.

Scientists are still debating whether or not the hydrogen in these comets would be able to produce a strong enough signal to have been detected on Earth.


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