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The WOW! Signal

Today we take a little break from all the murder, witches, ghosts, creepy places, and all of the other horror to bring you an episode that's on the lighter side but still could be rooted in creepiness! We are gonna take a look at the WOW signal! What is it? Where did it come from? Is Owen Wilson involved? Well hopefully we'll find out… Maybe not… Who knows!

Some of you have heard of the wow signal and you may know a little about it already, hopefully we can give you guys some more insight today.

The story starts back in 1959 when two Cornell university physicists, Philip Morrison who was a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is known for his work on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and for his later work in quantum physics, nuclear physics and high energy astrophysics and Giuseppe Cocconi, who was an Italian physicist who was director of the Proton Synchrotron at CERN in Geneva. He is known for his work in particle physics and for his involvement with SETI. These two nerds speculated that there might be a specific radio frequency that an intelligent extraterrestrial life would use if they were trying to make contact. That frequency is 1420 megahertz.

That frequency was chosen for a particular reason, it is the same frequency naturally emitted by hydrogen. Now if you're up on your elements you know hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. It stands to reason, therefore, that hydrogen and thus its frequency would be familiar to any intelligent civilizations in the universe.

Then between 1965 and 1971 The Ohio State University Radio Observatory carried out the Ohio Sky Survey. Data was collected using the Big Ear radio telescope. The observatory was a Kraus-type (after its inventor John D. Kraus) radio telescope.

The observatory was part of The Ohio State University's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project. Construction of the Big Ear began in 1956 and was completed in 1961, and it was finally turned on for the first time in 1963. The survey was primarily at a radio frequency of 1415 MHz, but data was also collected and evaluated at 2650 MHz and 612 MHz. Only one "channel" or band of frequencies was sampled for each frequency. The antenna was oriented to one declination at a time, (a declination is the angular distance of a point north or south of the celestial equator) and as the sky drifted past the meridian field of view, radio energy from that area was received and detected. Signal power was plotted on an analog chart recorder and also digitized and recorded on magnetic tape for later processing. A given declination was observed for a number of days before the telescope was moved to another declination in a systematic fashion.

The area surveyed was from declinations 63 degrees north to 36 degrees south, with a resolution at 1415 MHz of roughly 40 arc minutes in declination by 10 arc minutes in right ascension (RA). Over the course of