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SETI’s 1972 Wow! Signal – a 40-year retrospective

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In “The ‘Wow!’ Signal: One Man’s Search for SETI’s Most Tantalizing Trace of Alien Life” ( The Atlantic, February 16, 2012), Ross Andersen recounts,

Is it possible that the “Wow!” signal is somehow a computer glitch, or a signal from earth that was reflected off of space debris of some sort?

Gray: Of course it’s possible. It could have been any number of things. However, it almost certainly wasn’t a computer glitch, because it showed this rise and fall of intensity that’s just exactly what a radio source from the sky would look like. Also, the Ohio State radio telescope was cleverly rigged to filter out local stuff.

The only thing that conceivably could have made that special signature is a satellite of some sort at just the right distance, going just the right speed, in order to mimic a celestial object traversing the sky. So that’s a possibility, but it seems pretty unlikely for a number of reasons. First, it would have been seen by a lot of people. Ohio State would have seen it repeatedly, because satellites broadcast repeatedly. Secondly, if it was a secret satellite it would have been pretty stupid to broadcast at a frequency that radio astronomers across the world listen to.

For a long time, Jerry Ehman, who actually scribbled “Wow!” on the original computer printout, considered the possibility that it was a piece of space debris reflecting a signal from the earth back down into the antenna. But he no longer believes that to be the case. And I’m not saying that it definitely was an extraterrestrial broadcast; there’s no proof of that. The best way I can think to analogize this thing is to say that it was a tug on the cosmic fishing line. It doesn’t prove that you have a fish on the line, but it does suggest that you keep your line in the water at that spot.

And forty years on …

Hey,  it’s Saturday night here.

Hi News, Just one small point. The Wow signal was in 1977, not 1972. You may have been thinking of the Pioneer X spacecraft, which was launched in March 1972 with a message for any alien that might come across it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_plaque Anyway, 35 years is still worth celebrating. Incidentally, what do readers make of this? Sounds pretty convincing. http://merahza.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/a-mile-wide-ufo/ vjtorley
Here is another book on 'messages from above' that I enjoyed very much;
FOREVER OURS - Book - synchronicities at death's threshold Excerpt: FOREVER OURS presents these heartfelt accounts, exploring the synchronicities and communications on death’s threshold. Told in the voice of a compassionate scientist and medical expert who sees death every day, these stories eloquently convey the comfort Dr. Amatuzio has found in what she sees and hears. FOREVER OURS offers readers hope, comfort and profound lessons on living. http://www.foreverours.com/ Dr. Janis Amatuzio author of FOREVER OURS - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtnywJHLrLY
In terms of the signal, all the article references is that it was a strong signal -- up to 30 times stronger than the background noise -- that lasted momentarily. Do we have any idea what the signal actually contained? No code, no message, nothing but a strong signal -- like the amp cranked up momentarily -- that didn't contain (as near as I can ascertain from the story) any complex specified information. I'm one of the ones who thinks there is life on other worlds, but I'd need to see some complex specified information to feel comfortable concluding that we've found it. This doesn't seem to even get close to the kind of signal needed to determine the presence of intelligent activity. Eric Anderson
Perhaps SETI should look a little higher than the stars of heaven for that 'message from above' that will really make them go "WOW";
SETI - Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence receives message from God,,,,, Almost - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007753 Isaiah 45:18-19 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”
GodWinks:, From the former producer of Good Morning America, When God let's you know He's thinking of you;
SQuire Rushnell Good Morning America "GodWinks" - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYJRddhzFG4
I recently enjoyed this book very much. The title says it all:
Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life - video http://www.amazon.com/Small-Miracles-Extraordinary-Coincidences-Everyday/dp/1558506462
Here is a short story from one of their books:
The Miracle of the Rose - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YKneRE0TnY
This is a lighthearted article from Reader's Digest that had this gem in it;
27 Amazing Miracles in Real Life Excerpt: Our son died of a brain tumor at 17. On the second anniversary of his death, as I was driving to work, a double rainbow appeared in the clear sky. One end was on the road in front of us and the other at the cemetery where he was buried. —Peggy H., Boone, North Carolina http://www.rd.com/family/27-amazing-miracles-in-real-life-2/
This small miracle took years to see it come to pass;
Hearing God – Are We Listening? – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200224/
Here are a couple of personal small miracles;
Strange But True - Small Miracle Testimony https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfNTNocmRjZGtkdg&hl=en ALF's Small Miracle https://docs.google.com/document/d/15HyqZQemXGK9eYJ3NwZtTIg2r_BQnAYasrwbqAiqJRM/edit
Quotes of note
“When I was young, I said to God, 'God, tell me the mystery of the universe.' But God answered, 'That knowledge is for me alone.' So I said, 'God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.' Then God said, 'Well George, that's more nearly your size.' And he told me.” George Washington Carver "God gave them to me" he (Carver) would say about his ideas, "How can I sell them to someone else?" George Washington Carver - prolific inventor I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.... All my discoveries have been made in an answer to prayer. — Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), considered by many to be the greatest scientist of all time.
Verse and Music:
John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." The man at the beginning of the following music video is the famed psychologist Carl Jung of 'synchronicity/serendipity' fame; When You Know - Inspirational Song http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4209342/

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