New thoughts on the Ohio State University 'wow signal'


log in

Advanced search

Message boards : SETI@home Science : New thoughts on the Ohio State University 'wow signal'

Author Message
Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1325545 - Posted: 7 Jan 2013, 17:38:06 UTC

Question: If you divide a calendar year into two segments which correspond to the famous 'golden section' or Phi ratio of .618 to 1 or 1 to 1.618, on what date does the 'cut' fall? Answer: August 15th, at least in a non leap year. Another question: what is the significance of the date, August 15th? Answer: It is the date on which the well known 'wow signal' was received at the Ohio State University radio telescope; and yes, this was in a non leap year, 1977.
Is this merely a coincidence or could it be of some significance? One could say that the odds of this particularly notable signal happening on this date was one in 365. If this was done intentionally, the senders of the signal seem to know a good deal about us, even the date on which our civil years begin. There are 226 days between January 1st, 1977 and August 15th of that year. Could this mean that the signal is repetitive on a cycle of 226 days? An intriguing possibility.

Profile ignorance is no excuse
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 4 Oct 00
Posts: 9529
Credit: 44,433,321
RAC: 0
Korea, North
Message 1325554 - Posted: 7 Jan 2013, 18:01:43 UTC - in response to Message 1325545.

Is this merely a coincidence or could it be of some significance?


Nobody can explain the result. So the significance is lost on us. Since they only recorded the intensity of the signal and not the actual signal, we have no idea what that signal was.


If this was done intentionally, the senders of the signal seem to know a good deal about us, even the date on which our civil years begin. There are 226 days between January 1st, 1977 and August 15th of that year.

Assume that singal was sent from a star system 100 LY away. What would we assume by that date now? Did they know exactly when to send it? Shear luck? or just another weird signal? How about none of the above. We have no idea what made that transmission so we have no reasonable idea as to who or what sent it.



Could this mean that the signal is repetitive on a cycle of 226 days? An intriguing possibility.
Why would we assume that? that part of the galaxy has been constantly and thotoughly scanned and no other signal has been found. We know as much now as we did 35 years ago
____________
In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face.
Diogenes Of Sinope

End terrorism by building a school

Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1325572 - Posted: 7 Jan 2013, 19:31:55 UTC - in response to Message 1325554.
Last modified: 7 Jan 2013, 19:36:28 UTC

Is this merely a coincidence or could it be of some significance?


Nobody can explain the result. So the significance is lost on us. Since they only recorded the intensity of the signal and not the actual signal, we have no idea what that signal was.


If this was done intentionally, the senders of the signal seem to know a good deal about us, even the date on which our civil years begin. There are 226 days between January 1st, 1977 and August 15th of that year.

Assume that singal was sent from a star system 100 LY away. What would we assume by that date now? Did they know exactly when to send it? Shear luck? or just another weird signal? How about none of the above. We have no idea what made that transmission so we have no reasonable idea as to who or what sent it.



Could this mean that the signal is repetitive on a cycle of 226 days? An intriguing possibility.
Why would we assume that? that part of the galaxy has been constantly and thotoughly scanned and no other signal has been found. We know as much now as we did 35 years ago
The wow signal was narrow in its bandwidth, indicating an artificial signal, not a natural phenomenon. It was received for only as long as the beam of the telescope, set in motion by the Earth's rotation, would receive a signal from a fixed position in the sky. This was held to signify that the source was at least as distant as the Moon. No distant space vehicles from Earth were found to be responsible. Given these considerations we are entitled to consider the possibility of a signal from extraterrestrial intelligence, even in the absence of scientific closure.
That the signal happened to occur on the only date that divides the civil year into a very well known mathematical ratio seems worth noting, in this context. It has been repeatedly proposed that mathematics could form the basis for communications with extraterrestrial intelligences.
The wow signal has been looked for repeatedly since 1977, without success; It is obviously not constant. It has been suggested the an extraterrestrial civilization might sweep a radio beam through wide swathes of space, in a repeating cycle, so as to reach as many worlds as possible. We've had no idea what the supposed cycle's length could be.
Working with the very limited information we have about the signal, I tried to discern if there could possibly be any significance to the date on which it was received. It was then that I perceived the mathematical relationship to which I referred in my first post. The proposal that the signal might repeat in 226 days is merely one possibility, based on the way the Phi ratio was conceivably expressed.

Profile ignorance is no excuse
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 4 Oct 00
Posts: 9529
Credit: 44,433,321
RAC: 0
Korea, North
Message 1325606 - Posted: 7 Jan 2013, 21:28:57 UTC - in response to Message 1325572.

No, We don't know the source so any speculation is just that. Grasping at straws isn't science. Interesting as the signal was, its never been repeated. Conclusions? THe direction of the signal is the Sagittarius(sp) cluster. This cluster is a well know source of radio signals. Most importantly Nobody else listening for signals found anything. We have to assume that they weren't the only ones looking up or listening. Conclusions? I'm betting someone was screwing around at the lab.
____________
In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face.
Diogenes Of Sinope

End terrorism by building a school

Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1325625 - Posted: 7 Jan 2013, 22:32:32 UTC - in response to Message 1325606.
Last modified: 7 Jan 2013, 22:34:07 UTC

No, We don't know the source so any speculation is just that. Grasping at straws isn't science. Interesting as the signal was, its never been repeated. Conclusions? THe direction of the signal is the Sagittarius(sp) cluster. This cluster is a well know source of radio signals. Most importantly Nobody else listening for signals found anything. We have to assume that they weren't the only ones looking up or listening. Conclusions? I'm betting someone was screwing around at the lab.
I don't believe that a bit of careful speculation, based on what is known, amounts to grasping at straws, or is scientifically illegitimate. It was Dr. Albert Einstein who said: 'imagination is more important than knowledge'.
The naturally-occurring radio signals in Sagittarius do not seem to have the same narrow-band characteristics as the wow signal. The fact that the signal was not heard again merely establishes that it is not continuous. Our failure to hear it again may be due to the unsystematic way it has been listened for.
Without substantiation, the suggestion that the signal was either the result of a hoax, or simply the result of carelessness or incompetence in tracking down a local source of interference seems a less than convincing speculation. The facts already given about the signal do not appear to support it.

musicplayer
Send message
Joined: 17 May 10
Posts: 1456
Credit: 706,511
RAC: 659
Message 1325637 - Posted: 7 Jan 2013, 23:30:47 UTC
Last modified: 8 Jan 2013, 0:28:13 UTC

Oh, maybe we already have been confronted with these "things".

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084787/

Except for that it was only a very good science fiction movie.

Makes me think about Orson Welles and "War of the Worlds", which although it may have been a true story, apparently was a radio broadcast only, back in 1938.

Just in time at editing this: Also a newer movie production (1985) by Steven Spielberg.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407304/ .

I am only getting the national translation for this movie even when visiting IMDb.

Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1325651 - Posted: 8 Jan 2013, 0:59:19 UTC
Last modified: 8 Jan 2013, 1:01:13 UTC

I've read H.G. Wells 1898 novel, heard recordings of the 1938 Orson Welles radio version, and seen the 1953 George Pal movie adaptation, but not the newer movie. Personally, I'd prefer a 'phone call' from extraterrestrials, even if we didn't answer in time to talk to them, to a war of the worlds.

musicplayer
Send message
Joined: 17 May 10
Posts: 1456
Credit: 706,511
RAC: 659
Message 1325655 - Posted: 8 Jan 2013, 1:09:28 UTC
Last modified: 8 Jan 2013, 1:11:05 UTC

The original broadcast is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6YNHq1qc44 .

Anyway, I guess this better should rather have been posted in the non-SETI message board instead.

Profile LynnProject donor
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 20 Nov 00
Posts: 4721
Credit: 764,975
RAC: 3,857
United States
Message 1326300 - Posted: 10 Jan 2013, 7:05:45 UTC - in response to Message 1325655.

The original broadcast is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6YNHq1qc44 .

Anyway, I guess this better should rather have been posted in the non-SETI message board instead.




You Tube

Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" Radio Broadcast

Profile LynnProject donor
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 20 Nov 00
Posts: 4721
Credit: 764,975
RAC: 3,857
United States
Message 1326301 - Posted: 10 Jan 2013, 7:10:00 UTC - in response to Message 1326300.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wow!_Signal
Wow! signal




The location of the signal in the constellation Sagittarius, near the Chi Sagittarii star group. Because of the design of the experiment, the location may lie in either one of the two red bands, and there is also significant uncertainty in the declination (vertical axis). For clarity, the widths of the red bands are not drawn to scale; they should actually be narrower.

The signal could have been a computer error. I'm hoping no.

Profile trader
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 25 Jun 00
Posts: 126
Credit: 4,968,173
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1346748 - Posted: 15 Mar 2013, 4:34:21 UTC - in response to Message 1326301.

anyone ever think that what we got was their version af a mistake. some computer glitch that sent a signal in the wrong direction. we are in the outer fringes .... not exactly in the middle of the galatic trade routes
____________
I RTFM and it was WYSIWYG then i found out it was a PEBKAC error

Profile ML1
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 25 Nov 01
Posts: 8485
Credit: 4,187,439
RAC: 1,831
United Kingdom
Message 1346823 - Posted: 15 Mar 2013, 12:47:08 UTC - in response to Message 1326301.

The signal could have been a computer error. I'm hoping no.

The Big Ear had two aerials, hence the two possible lobes. That also suggests the signal should have been seen twice, the second time after a small interval as the second lobe swept over.

No second signal was seen... Which suggests a one-off earthly transient rather than something astronomical.


Still interesting and tantalising...

Keep searchin',
Martin

____________
See new freedom: Mageia4
Linux Voice See & try out your OS Freedom!
The Future is what We make IT (GPLv3)

Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1346842 - Posted: 15 Mar 2013, 14:30:45 UTC - in response to Message 1346748.

anyone ever think that what we got was their version af a mistake. some computer glitch that sent a signal in the wrong direction. we are in the outer fringes .... not exactly in the middle of the galatic trade routes
There's no way of knowing if the signal was a mistake or not. It might have been going on for some time before it was received. The 'Big Ear' radio telescope at Ohio State University was fixed in position. The rotation of the Earth swept its receiving beam across the sky, once a day.
For all we know, the galaxy may be densely inhabited with intelligent life. We live in what has been called the 'galactic habitable zone'. This is the area between the dense core of the galaxy where intense energies and interactions between stars may preclude life, and the true outer fringes where planet building materials are relatively rare. We seem to be living on prime real estate.

Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1346847 - Posted: 15 Mar 2013, 14:43:13 UTC - in response to Message 1346823.

The signal could have been a computer error. I'm hoping no.

The Big Ear had two aerials, hence the two possible lobes. That also suggests the signal should have been seen twice, the second time after a small interval as the second lobe swept over.

No second signal was seen... Which suggests a one-off earthly transient rather than something astronomical.


Still interesting and tantalising...

Keep searchin',
Martin
The signal conformed very well to a standard gaussian distribution. This means that as the telescope's receiving beam swept across it, it behaved exactly like a signal from a source at least as distant as the Moon. The odds against transient Earthly interference duplicating such a pattern so well is very remote.
The signal may have been transmitted for quite some time before it was received (see my post, above) It's unfortunate that it did not continue long enough to be received by the second lobe of the (single) antenna, or on subsequent days, so that it could be properly analyzed. Just why it shut off the way it did is impossible to know.

Profile trader
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 25 Jun 00
Posts: 126
Credit: 4,968,173
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1347173 - Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 4:54:33 UTC - in response to Message 1346842.

anyone ever think that what we got was their version af a mistake. some computer glitch that sent a signal in the wrong direction. we are in the outer fringes .... not exactly in the middle of the galatic trade routes
There's no way of knowing if the signal was a mistake or not. It might have been going on for some time before it was received. The 'Big Ear' radio telescope at Ohio State University was fixed in position. The rotation of the Earth swept its receiving beam across the sky, once a day.
For all we know, the galaxy may be densely inhabited with intelligent life. We live in what has been called the 'galactic habitable zone'. This is the area between the dense core of the galaxy where intense energies and interactions between stars may preclude life, and the true outer fringes where planet building materials are relatively rare. We seem to be living on prime real estate.



I firmly belive that we are not alone in the universe, its extremely arrogant to think we are alone. but lacking any physical proof of that fact i can only come up with these.

1) we could be the most technologicly advanced race here or still around

2) we are so far away from the main freeways that they havent got around to finding us yet

3) they use forms of communications that we have no idea how to detect or know what to look for

4) they know about us, possibly even studied us. and have determind that contact with use should be avoided at all costs at least until we as a species develope into something worth adding to the galatic family
____________
I RTFM and it was WYSIWYG then i found out it was a PEBKAC error

Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1347323 - Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 15:01:01 UTC - in response to Message 1347173.

anyone ever think that what we got was their version af a mistake. some computer glitch that sent a signal in the wrong direction. we are in the outer fringes .... not exactly in the middle of the galatic trade routes
There's no way of knowing if the signal was a mistake or not. It might have been going on for some time before it was received. The 'Big Ear' radio telescope at Ohio State University was fixed in position. The rotation of the Earth swept its receiving beam across the sky, once a day.
For all we know, the galaxy may be densely inhabited with intelligent life. We live in what has been called the 'galactic habitable zone'. This is the area between the dense core of the galaxy where intense energies and interactions between stars may preclude life, and the true outer fringes where planet building materials are relatively rare. We seem to be living on prime real estate.



I firmly belive that we are not alone in the universe, its extremely arrogant to think we are alone. but lacking any physical proof of that fact i can only come up with these.

1) we could be the most technologicly advanced race here or still around

2) we are so far away from the main freeways that they havent got around to finding us yet

3) they use forms of communications that we have no idea how to detect or know what to look for

4) they know about us, possibly even studied us. and have determind that contact with use should be avoided at all costs at least until we as a species develope into something worth adding to the galatic family
Trader; All of the four observation you made are possibly true. We can only try to judge their probability, based on what little we know of the universe.
Given the age of the universe there has been more than ample time for advanced technical civilizations to spread throughout the galaxy, before the Earth was even formed, even if they were confined to speeds well below that of light. With civilizations very probably coming into existence, all through galactic history, it seems improbable that we happen to be the only one in existence, at this time.
Technology appears to be able to lengthen the duration of a civilization. Consider, for example, the possibility of being able to divert asteroids or comets that threaten to strike an inhabited planet.
If an extraterrestrial civilization wishes to communicate with us, they should be able to adapt their method of communication, so as to bring it within our ability to receive it.
We may not be considered ideal galactic citizens. It may be anticipated that we will soon be intruding into the galaxy (in the long term reckoning of a very old civilization). The plan could be to gradually make us aware of the existence of galactic civilization, and help prepare us to be a responsible member of it.

Profile Michel448a
Volunteer tester
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 27 Oct 00
Posts: 1201
Credit: 2,891,635
RAC: 0
Canada
Message 1347366 - Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 17:15:04 UTC - in response to Message 1347173.


1) we could be the most technologicly advanced race here or still around

2) we are so far away from the main freeways that they havent got around to finding us yet

3) they use forms of communications that we have no idea how to detect or know what to look for

4) they know about us, possibly even studied us. and have determind that contact with use should be avoided at all costs at least until we as a species develope into something worth adding to the galatic family


i would add

5) space travels at light speed or cryo_sleep is probably impossible and will only stay in sci-fi tvshows (aka startrek)
____________

Profile trader
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 25 Jun 00
Posts: 126
Credit: 4,968,173
RAC: 0
United States
Message 1347385 - Posted: 16 Mar 2013, 18:16:13 UTC - in response to Message 1347366.


1) we could be the most technologicly advanced race here or still around

2) we are so far away from the main freeways that they havent got around to finding us yet

3) they use forms of communications that we have no idea how to detect or know what to look for

4) they know about us, possibly even studied us. and have determind that contact with use should be avoided at all costs at least until we as a species develope into something worth adding to the galatic family


i would add

5) space travels at light speed or cryo_sleep is probably impossible and will only stay in sci-fi tvshows (aka startrek)


at our current level of technology i would agree with that statement however if i remember correctly einstein's theories do show that faster then light travel is impossible however quantum physics if i remember correctly say it is possible

as for cryo sleep i litte knowlegde about where we are to this, i have read some things about it. i feel that it is one of the few things about inersolar or intragaltic travel that we might be able to achieve with in the next 3 to 5 decades.
____________
I RTFM and it was WYSIWYG then i found out it was a PEBKAC error

Michael Watson
Send message
Joined: 7 Feb 08
Posts: 558
Credit: 216,713
RAC: 117
Message 1347829 - Posted: 17 Mar 2013, 18:42:23 UTC

I hesitate to make a firm prediction about when we will be able to travel between the stars in practical lengths of time. An unexpected breakthrough could change the picture entirely, at any time. Knowing how technology is likely to develop is one of the advantages a more advanced civilization has, in dealing with a less advanced one.
The discovery of the Higgs boson has been confirmed. Perhaps it will eventually have a practical application to space flight. Since it confers mass upon matter, and gravity depends on mass, the ability to control the Higgs might, for all we know, allow us to control gravity.
Perhaps extraterrestrials have reason to expect us to be on their doorstep in, say, 100 years. Maybe they want to prepare us gradually for that face to face meeting, over a span of 100 years.

Message boards : SETI@home Science : New thoughts on the Ohio State University 'wow signal'

Copyright © 2014 University of California