Wow Signal Planetary Origin

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Michael Watson

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Message 1106768 - Posted: 16 May 2011, 14:14:44 UTC

The transcription of the wow signal was as an alpha-numeric code indicating signal strength. It was divided into 6 distinct sections, each of 12 seconds duration. The only content recorded was the average of the signal strength across each of the six sections. No audio was recorded. The audio in the linked video was added to produce an 'outer- spacey' effect, and was much more complex than the information recorded for the wow signal. One could, if they wished, interpret the wow signal data in an audio manner, making an audio tone vary in pitch, in time with the signal as recorded. This would produce six tones, each 12 seconds long. The tones would switch upward, then downward in steps of pitch over the whole 72 seconds of the data record, reflecting the roughly gaussian distribution of the signal's strength as it passed through the antenna beam. Michael
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Message 1106842 - Posted: 16 May 2011, 18:48:40 UTC - in response to Message 1106768.  

The transcription of the wow signal was as an alpha-numeric code indicating signal strength. It was divided into 6 distinct sections, each of 12 seconds duration. The only content recorded was the average of the signal strength across each of the six sections. No audio was recorded. The audio in the linked video was added to produce an 'outer- spacey' effect, and was much more complex than the information recorded for the wow signal. One could, if they wished, interpret the wow signal data in an audio manner, making an audio tone vary in pitch, in time with the signal as recorded. This would produce six tones, each 12 seconds long. The tones would switch upward, then downward in steps of pitch over the whole 72 seconds of the data record, reflecting the roughly gaussian distribution of the signal's strength as it passed through the antenna beam. Michael


Great post, thanks for the education!


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Message 1107128 - Posted: 18 May 2011, 0:52:59 UTC - in response to Message 1106768.  

so it could have been ETI signal or maybe secret military radio transmission using the
1.420 GHZ which is very unusual. To this day will allways be most plausible ETI signal recorded so far, hopefully Keppler will be able to identify planets which more WOW signals can come from. Fascinating to think that WOW signal came from one of most active areas in the Milky Way in Sagittarius. the coordinates become RA= 19h25m31s ± 10s or 19h28m22s ± 10s and declination= −26°57′ ± 20′

This region of the sky lies in the constellation Sagittarius, roughly 2.5 degrees south of the fifth-magnitude star group Chi Sagittarii. Tau Sagittarii is the closest easily visible star.

Right ascension (on the positive horn): 19h25m31s +/- 10s
Right ascension (on the negative horn): 19h28m22s +/- 10s
Declination (the same for both horns): -26d57m +/- 20m



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Message 1107272 - Posted: 18 May 2011, 14:17:16 UTC

The possibility that the wow signal was a secret military transmission is pretty remote. To quote from a personal letter I received from Dr. Robert Dixon, Director of Ohio State University SETI program : 'We crudely estimated the distance by two methods: 1. The shape of the curve traced out by the intensity as it drifted thru our antenna pattern. It fits the curve perfectly, indicating it is not in the near field of the antenna. 2. If it were an Earth satellite, it would have to be at least at lunar distance to appear fixed on the sky.' ___ The idea of a military satellite at the distance of the Moon or greater makes no sense. Such satellites are intended to track activities on Earth, or allow communications between two points on Earth. Being at the distance of the Moon would put them at a great disadvantage in either case, as compared to their normal orbits. It would also be strange for such a satellite to transmit in the middle of a band reserved for radio astronomy, when the military has so many other radio frequencies allocated exclusively to its use, and thus much more secure. The military surely wouldn't want astronomers monitoring the neutral hydrogen line listening in on their doings! Michael
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Message 1107518 - Posted: 19 May 2011, 3:21:15 UTC - in response to Message 1107272.  

Fascinating indeed, thanks fort the information, the WOW signal is the " what if " peculiar indeed. Fascinating that the Big Ear was able to pick up a signal from close the galactic bulge; perhaps from the center of the Milkay Way, afterall Sag A is in Sagittarius. Which makes it more peculiar, i would think that life would be hard to develop in areas with a lot of stars close to each other, radiation is not very friendly to life.
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Message 1107533 - Posted: 19 May 2011, 3:57:58 UTC - in response to Message 1107518.  

Fascinating indeed, thanks fort the information, the WOW signal is the " what if " peculiar indeed. Fascinating that the Big Ear was able to pick up a signal from close the galactic bulge; perhaps from the center of the Milkay Way, afterall Sag A is in Sagittarius. Which makes it more peculiar, i would think that life would be hard to develop in areas with a lot of stars close to each other, radiation is not very friendly to life.


Bacterial life and organisms live on the tip of volcanic shafts coming out of the ocean floors. Bacteria also live in arsenic ridden lakes in the Western US. Those things only prove that we as humans have little understanding of where life can live and thrive as opposed to where it cannot. So I find it hard to believe that even radiation would kill some forms of life given the fact that scientists mostly describe "life" as what can or cannot exist on earth. Just because it cannot live on earth, doesn't mean it cannot live on other planets, radiation or not.
"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible". Hebrews 11.3

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Message 1107632 - Posted: 19 May 2011, 14:13:54 UTC

Yes, certain simple, highly specialized forms of life are good at surviving in high radiation environments. It is not so clear if this can occur in more complex and generalized life, such as would be needed to embody and express intelligence. The fact that the Wow Signal occurred in the direction of the center of the galaxy, while interesting, does not establish that it originated in the dense central part of the galaxy. It could have come from the same spiral arm of the galaxy as our system occupies; from the area that happens to lie between us and the center of the galaxy. Michael
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Message 1107826 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 1:42:19 UTC - in response to Message 1107632.  

I concur that higher forms of life would find it difficult to survive in an environment of high radiation. As it can be see here on Earth, cells exposed to anormal levels of radiaton, get prone to life-threating conditions such as cancer. I m not sure, but Tau Sagittarii migth be a K star type, part of Sun type star group; is that star ever been studied closely for exoplanets?
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Message 1107828 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 1:47:01 UTC - in response to Message 1107826.  

Correction, The Sun is G star type not K, so i rephrase my question. Has Tau Sagittarii ever been studied for exoplanets? I believe that star is 70% the Sun's size but cooler, albeit the same age, i think.
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Message 1107832 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 2:02:44 UTC - in response to Message 1107826.  

I concur that higher forms of life would find it difficult to survive in an environment of high radiation. As it can be see here on Earth, cells exposed to anormal levels of radiaton, get prone to life-threating conditions such as cancer. I m not sure, but Tau Sagittarii migth be a K star type, part of Sun type star group; is that star ever been studied closely for exoplanets?


As you said, "on earth." Just because humans or cells on Earth cannot adapt to massive levels of that sort of radiation, doesn't mean intelligent life like humans can't on other planets. Think out of the box. It is impossible to say that life can't exist in places like that, without having a life form from another planet to prove that right...or wrong.
"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible". Hebrews 11.3

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Message 1107947 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 14:31:13 UTC

Tau Sagittarii is K1 or K2, but not on the main sequence. Described as a giant (III). Things are probably getting very hot for any planets we would have tended to place in the 'habitable' category. K stars are longer-lived than the Sun, so lots of time for an advanced civilization to develop. I'd think such a civilization would want to artificially extend the life of its star before things got to this point. I'm told that this can be accomplished by enhanced mixing of the stellar interior. It appears that this might have been done at stars Zeta1 and Zeta2 Reticuli, due to their anomalously young position on the HR diagram, despite indications of an age great enough to have them expanding, and well on their way toward giant status. A quick search doesn't reveal if Tau Sagittarii has been checked for planets or not. At 120 light years distance, they may simply have not got around to it yet. There are a great many stars within 120 light years. They may prefer to search those stars still on the main sequence. In any case, Tau Sagitarii is rather far from the position of the wow signal. About 18 minutes of Right Ascension and 23 of Declination, allowing for the best case within the wow signal positional error bars. At stellar distances, these figures indicate separations much greater than that of planets from their stars. Dr. Kraus and Dr. Dixon always maintained that there was no obvious candidate star at the position of the wow signal. I don't know how far down the magnitude scale they were able to check. Michael
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Message 1107970 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 15:42:38 UTC - in response to Message 1107832.  

I concur that higher forms of life would find it difficult to survive in an environment of high radiation. As it can be see here on Earth, cells exposed to anormal levels of radiaton, get prone to life-threating conditions such as cancer. I m not sure, but Tau Sagittarii migth be a K star type, part of Sun type star group; is that star ever been studied closely for exoplanets?


As you said, "on earth." Just because humans or cells on Earth cannot adapt to massive levels of that sort of radiation, doesn't mean intelligent life like humans can't on other planets. Think out of the box. It is impossible to say that life can't exist in places like that, without having a life form from another planet to prove that right...or wrong.



So you predict a planet that where molecules(DNA/RNA) have somehow protected themselves from extreme radiation. We know lower life forms here on earth can adapt. However, thats the extent of it. It's highly unlikely advanced animals would be able to form or evolve under those conditions
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Message 1108050 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 22:20:24 UTC - in response to Message 1107970.  
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I concur that higher forms of life would find it difficult to survive in an environment of high radiation. As it can be see here on Earth, cells exposed to anormal levels of radiaton, get prone to life-threating conditions such as cancer. I m not sure, but Tau Sagittarii migth be a K star type, part of Sun type star group; is that star ever been studied closely for exoplanets?


As you said, "on earth." Just because humans or cells on Earth cannot adapt to massive levels of that sort of radiation, doesn't mean intelligent life like humans can't on other planets. Think out of the box. It is impossible to say that life can't exist in places like that, without having a life form from another planet to prove that right...or wrong.



So you predict a planet that where molecules(DNA/RNA) have somehow protected themselves from extreme radiation. We know lower life forms here on earth can adapt. However, thats the extent of it. It's highly unlikely advanced animals would be able to form or evolve under those conditions


Based on what evidence? If that were truly the case that you believed that, would you be wasting your time here? Probably not. All I am saying is that we assume that just because life from earth cannot exist in those conditions, then life cannot exist at all. I simply just don't see that to be true. Life on other planets is bound to not be like life on earth. If we are unique in our evolution, then so would the evolution on other planets.
"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible". Hebrews 11.3

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Message 1108063 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 22:58:44 UTC - in response to Message 1108050.  

based on the fact that no higher evolved species seek out the tops of mountains to live. Mountain tops get exposed to a great deal more radiation than lower areas. the fact that not one superhero or super animal was ever found to have been evolved from any nuclear explosion. Massive radiation does one thing to proteins. It breaks them down. IIRC there is only a small species of bacteria(an extremophileI) that actually thrives in radioactive water in nuclear plants. All other forms of life perish. Now that isnt to say that that bacteria could evolve eventually to a multicellular organism but its highly unlikely since the conditions it requires for life limit its food supply which of course is basic chemicals unlike advanced microbes that feed on other microbes etc. So you'd be able if an organism went through all this worlds evolution just to get one microbe that can survive (barely) in radioactive water.

This is a stretch but I will say that in billions of years maybe maybe just maybe the bacteria could evolve into multiple organisms that can survive the radiation and then evolve the hunter and hunted lifestyle we know on earth.
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Message 1108081 - Posted: 20 May 2011, 23:45:36 UTC - in response to Message 1108063.  

based on the fact that no higher evolved species seek out the tops of mountains to live. Mountain tops get exposed to a great deal more radiation than lower areas. the fact that not one superhero or super animal was ever found to have been evolved from any nuclear explosion. Massive radiation does one thing to proteins. It breaks them down. IIRC there is only a small species of bacteria(an extremophileI) that actually thrives in radioactive water in nuclear plants. All other forms of life perish. Now that isnt to say that that bacteria could evolve eventually to a multicellular organism but its highly unlikely since the conditions it requires for life limit its food supply which of course is basic chemicals unlike advanced microbes that feed on other microbes etc. So you'd be able if an organism went through all this worlds evolution just to get one microbe that can survive (barely) in radioactive water.

This is a stretch but I will say that in billions of years maybe maybe just maybe the bacteria could evolve into multiple organisms that can survive the radiation and then evolve the hunter and hunted lifestyle we know on earth.


So with the infinite number of planets, stars and solar systems in the infinity of space, there is no chance that on at least one of those planets that some form of life could not adapt to that level of radiation? I tend to believe something could. We just don't understand "life" enough to make an assumption that it could not exist in places like those. Again you keep mentioning earth...when there are planets likely to host some form of life that are no where like earth.

"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible". Hebrews 11.3

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Message 1108133 - Posted: 21 May 2011, 3:07:19 UTC - in response to Message 1108050.  

Radiation can be both a blessing and a malice for the development of life. A blessing in terms of DNA mutations that sometimes give rise to new species of life; and malice also in terms of turning cells cancerous. It would be possible that life throughout the universe could have similareties with Eart's life in terms of structure at a cecular level. Life in another planet would probably look diferent in terms of shape and form. But I could see bipedal and four legged animals being a life structure in another planet, not necessarly integent life. Proteins, enzymes, need a liquid for stability, and H2O is pervasive in the universe, along with the elemen tcarbon, also sugars, sodium,and all those elements exist with abundance in galaxies. Possibility exists that five billions ago other G type stars formed and those stars formed also solar systems with life; higly unlikely that in a galaxy of over 200 billion stars, only the Sun was able to forge a planet with life, Earth.
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Message 1108593 - Posted: 22 May 2011, 6:31:13 UTC - in response to Message 1108133.  

Does anyone have any info on hand that points to how often, if at all, the original area from which the WoW signal was detected is monitored by the likes of SETI? I did some digging but couldn't find anything conclusive.


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Message 1108634 - Posted: 22 May 2011, 10:40:40 UTC - in response to Message 1108593.  
Last modified: 22 May 2011, 10:49:00 UTC

Does anyone have any info on hand that points to how often, if at all, the original area from which the WoW signal was detected is monitored by the likes of SETI? I did some digging but couldn't find anything conclusive.


I think it was discussed in an old thread, but which I cannot recall. I remember someone saying that they went back and observed the supposed spot the signal was detected and found nothing. Don't quote me on this though. Perhaps some of the more longer term crunchers and board posters could find the thread or post a link.

EDIT: Since I am good with the internet, I may have found a link: Wow! signal (thing) Also: The Wow! signal

For some time after the Wow signal, attempts were made to find it again. No search has found that signal. In 1987 and 1989 an 84 foot radio telescope was used to look at possible spots in the sky but found nothing. Most recently, the VLA was used in 1995 and 1996 to investigate some possibilities including a weak signal that grew in strength due to various lensing http://www.bigear.org/Gray-Marvel.pdf. If this was the case, the VLA would have found it - but the VLA did not find any that sources resembling the Wow signal. A second possibility was that the Wow signal was a "look here!" followed by a lower power signal. The VLA is capable of detecting signals 1000x weaker than the Big Ear could, but found nothing. Another still possible situation is that the Wow signal isn't on all the time (the Arecibo transmission isn't on all the time either - it was sent just once on November 16, 1974 ). Time on the VLA and other large telescopes is often limited to just an hour or two and the locale for the signal is below the horizon in the northern hemisphere most of the day. A search that lasted fourteen hours and composed of several telescopes across the world also found no periodic signal during that period http://www.bigear.org/Gray-Ellingsen.pdf (though it is noted that the period of the signal may be/have been longer than 14 hours).

I have not checked to see if the links in the paragraph above still work. But this probably answers your question nonetheless.

This link is also a nice read. More scientific than anything: The Big Ear Wow! Signal
(30th Anniversary Report)

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Message 1108768 - Posted: 22 May 2011, 17:43:05 UTC

If we are not listening in the area of the WOW signal all the the time we will never hear it again. Just think of what was the duration of the signals we have sent out. They were short signals "1" time.

The wow signal received "1" signal that lasted 72 seconds. Maybe they repeat that same signal with each rotation of there planet at all the suspected "habitable" planets they find. If we are not looking full-time in that area the odds that we will pick up the signal again is near zero.



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Message 1108858 - Posted: 22 May 2011, 21:07:26 UTC - in response to Message 1108634.  

Does anyone have any info on hand that points to how often, if at all, the original area from which the WoW signal was detected is monitored by the likes of SETI? I did some digging but couldn't find anything conclusive.


I think it was discussed in an old thread, but which I cannot recall. I remember someone saying that they went back and observed the supposed spot the signal was detected and found nothing. Don't quote me on this though. Perhaps some of the more longer term crunchers and board posters could find the thread or post a link.

EDIT: Since I am good with the internet, I may have found a link: Wow! signal (thing) Also: The Wow! signal

For some time after the Wow signal, attempts were made to find it again. No search has found that signal. In 1987 and 1989 an 84 foot radio telescope was used to look at possible spots in the sky but found nothing. Most recently, the VLA was used in 1995 and 1996 to investigate some possibilities including a weak signal that grew in strength due to various lensing http://www.bigear.org/Gray-Marvel.pdf. If this was the case, the VLA would have found it - but the VLA did not find any that sources resembling the Wow signal. A second possibility was that the Wow signal was a "look here!" followed by a lower power signal. The VLA is capable of detecting signals 1000x weaker than the Big Ear could, but found nothing. Another still possible situation is that the Wow signal isn't on all the time (the Arecibo transmission isn't on all the time either - it was sent just once on November 16, 1974 ). Time on the VLA and other large telescopes is often limited to just an hour or two and the locale for the signal is below the horizon in the northern hemisphere most of the day. A search that lasted fourteen hours and composed of several telescopes across the world also found no periodic signal during that period http://www.bigear.org/Gray-Ellingsen.pdf (though it is noted that the period of the signal may be/have been longer than 14 hours).

I have not checked to see if the links in the paragraph above still work. But this probably answers your question nonetheless.

This link is also a nice read. More scientific than anything: The Big Ear Wow! Signal
(30th Anniversary Report)


Great read, thanks!



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