Intercepted Alien Transmissions [VIDEO]

SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has seen astronomers scouring the sky for dec...

Intercepted Alien Transmissions

SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has seen astronomers scouring the sky for decades in hopes of receiving artificially generated radio signals sent by alien civilizations.


But then, there’s a good chance we’ve already found just such a signal. And 1977 saw the most tantalizing glimpse ever.

Nicknamed the “Wow!” signal, this was a brief burst of radio waves detected by astronomer Jerry Ehman who was working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope, Ohio.

The signal was, in fact, so remarkable that Ehman circled it on the computer printout, writing “Wow!” in the margin, and unintentionally giving the received radio signal the name under which it would become famous.

Despite a lot of effort, no identification has been found for the signal’s source, and no repeat signal has ever been found.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is if the signal truly did originate in deep space, then it was either an astrophysical phenomenon of which we’ve never seen before, or it truly was an intercepted alien signal.

Intercepted Alien Transmissions

To explain scientific observations, the normal method is to construct hypotheses and then test them.

If your hypothesis is incorrect, it will fail to explain the observation. You can then continue this way, using different hypotheses, until you find something which can accurately describe what you’ve observed.

But with the Wow! signal, researchers ran into difficulty. After trying and failing to find any repeat of the signal, Ehman was skeptical of its origin, stating that “something suggests it was an Earth-sourced signal that simply got reflected off a piece of space debris.”

But when he tried to investigate that explanation, he only found more problems.

Investigations found that it was scarcely possible the signal could have originated on Earth, and reflection off a piece of space junk was equally unlikely.

The received signal was very specific, and these explanations required too many assumptions.

A pattern of logical thinking known as Occam’s razor was pointing towards this signal having an astrophysical origin. But this provided no explanation for what it might be.

Logically, the conclusion that must be drawn is that the Wow! signal very likely originated in deep space, but if it did then it was either a completely unknown astronomical phenomenon, or an intercepted alien broadcast but with nothing else to go on, there’s no way to prove or disprove either of these ideas.



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