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About The Wow! Signal (Menu)

The following is a link to an article written by Barry Kawa, a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, after he interviewed Dr. Ehman about the "Wow!" signal. It was published in the Sunday Magazine section of the Plain Dealer on September 18, 1994. It gives a good overview of Dr. Ehman's thoughts when he discovered the signal.

"The Wow! Signal"

The following links are to documents written by Dr. Jerry Ehman, discoverer of the "Wow!" signal.

In 1997 shortly after the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the "Wow!" signal (on August 15, 1977), Dr. Jerry Ehman wrote a report about that signal. It was decided to put that report on this website. Dr. Ehman wrote this report for his colleagues at the Ohio State University Radio Observatory and astronomers across the world. He wrote it with the intention of giving all of the details about the source, both in terms of its parameters (like location and intensity) and possible explanations (including those that can be ruled out and those that can't). Thus, this report is highly technical. He was initially hesitant about putting it on the website because it would be difficult reading for the many people who do not have a background in astronomy, physics, and electrical engineering. However, his colleagues persuaded him to publish it on the website nevertheless.

In the summer of 2007, with the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the "Wow!" signal, Dr. Ehman decided to revise his 20th anniversary report to create the 30th anniversary report. The goal was to explain better some of the technicality, although it is still quite technical in spots. It turns out that the final conclusions haven't changed, however.

Both reports are located in this website. Here are the links to those reports.

(1). The 30th Anniversary Report

(2). The Big Ear Wow! Signal: What We Know And Don't Know About It After 20 Years

Dr. Ehman wrote another article dealilng with the notation "6EQUJ5". It is a short document explaining in detail the meaning of the sequence of numbers and letters that constituted the "Wow!" signal: "6EQUJ5" displayed in channel 2 of the computer printout. He did this because several persons sent him and his colleagues mail that indicated these persons didn't have the foggiest idea of the meaning of those symbols.

What Is the Significance of 6EQUJ5?

The following two links are to articles written by Robert Gray and a colleague. Each article deals with attempts to detect the "Wow!" signal using radio telescopes other than the "Big Ear". Clicking on either of the two links below will download the corresponding article. Each article is a PDF file requiring the Adobe Acrobat reader (or equivalent) to view.

The first article reports on the use of the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico (a facility of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)), while the second article reports on the use of a 26-meter dish of the University of Tasmania in Hobart.

A VLA Search for the Ohio State "Wow"
By Robert H. Gray (Gray Data Consulting, Chicago, IL) and Kevin B. Marvel (American Astronomical Society, Washington, DC). It was published in The Astrophysical Journal, 546: 1171-1177, 2000 January 10.

A Search for Periodic Emissions at the Wow Locale
By Robert H. Gray (Gray Data Consulting, Chicago, IL) and Simon Ellingsen (University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania). It was published in The Astrophysical Journal, 578: 967-971, 2002 October 20.

The following link is to a document which is itself a reproduction of an article by Dr. Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute reprinted (with changes in format but no changes in the text) with the kind permission of Dr. Shostak and of SPACE.com (where the original article was published).

This article refers to the search for the "Wow!" signal by Robert Gray and Kevin Marvel (using the Very Large Array) and also by Robert Gray and Simon Ellingsen (using a 26-meter dish in Tasmania). These searches are reported in the two articles in the panel immediately above. Dr. Shostak comments on the importance of the "Wow!" signal, and the attempts to find it again.

Interstellar Signal From the 70s Continues to Puzzle Researchers
By Seth Shostak (SETI Institute).

The following link is to a webpage which includes two articles written by a staff reporter (Liz Robertson) of The Delaware (Ohio) Gazette newspaper that were published on July 7, 2007. Ms. Robertson reports on a videotape interview of Jerry Ehman about the "Wow!" signal made by a group of independent filmmakers from The Netherlands. In this case, Ms. Robertson also was included in the videotaping to become part of the storyline of the documentary.

Two Newspaper Articles by Liz Robertson of The Delaware (Ohio) Gazette on July 7, 2007



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Last modified: February 20, 2008.