This is the introduction to 'The
Big Ear Wow! Signal report' by Dr. Jerry Ehman
|The Wow! source radio emission entered
the receiver of the Big Ear radio telescope at about 11:16 p.m. Eastern
Big Ear Radio
Observatory - Wow! 20th Anniversary Report
Time on August 15, 1977. Thus, at the time this article is being written it
is just past the 20th anniversary of the detection of that now famous radio
source. What have we learned about that signal over the past 20 years? Could
it have come from an intelligent civilization beyond our solar system, or
could it have been just an emission generated by some activity of our own
According to the report the WOW signal was in Sagittarius at:
||RA 19h 25m 31s (+ horn), RA 19h 28m 22s (-
||DEC: -26hr 57m
||Freq: 1420 455 600 Hz
This thumbnail shows the location of the WOW signal on my Sky Map.
Because the image is stretched into a Mercator projection there is distortion in
the placement of the stars and constellations. To be as accurate as
possible I point the antenna on the calculated DEC and Ra (Ant RA = 20.02, Dec =
-26.32). It still seems a long way from Sagittarius though!
For reference the closest named star in
- RA 19 55 50.4
- Dec -26 17 58
2011-08-27 21:30 Alarm
- While working on upgrades to the software on Zeke I was
running SAGAN with the latest version of Control Panel.
- Alarm went off with an ET in bin 1528. I could not see
it on the JPG so I increased the integration time to 8 seconds
and let it run for a couple more JPG frames.
- Still could not see the line and the system failed to alarm
- False alarm
2010-07-21 Local signal I am sure
- Running the system from Remote SETI computer. First time
- Alarm went off at 4:AM. Alarm Frequency: 1,420,583,330
- I didn't start on this hit until about 8 AM
- Moved the antenna back to the Az/El shown in the JPG file (from
- The real time Waterfall near the Alarm bin 6625 still shows a
squiggle signal at 8 AM long after the WOW area has set
- Hit is Busted.
2009-03-12 WOW Area Crushed
Please note: I have rewritten the File
Manager and as of this date it cannot read these older style
JPGs and WAVs - Sorry.
If you would like to look closely at the
JPG or WAV files download them to your computer. The
details of the operation of SETI Net are buried in the files
(Jpg and WAV below) themselves coded in
SML. You can load the SML
by downloading and installing the
SETI Net File Manager.
Sagittarius is up in the morning and its the home of the
WOW Signal I thought I would put
the system on it for a while. When I tuned the receiver to the WOW
frequency 1420,455,600 Hz I saw a huge signal right in the middle of the Spec
Ana (100 mVolt) . This thing is *way* stronger than anything I would expect from
ET so I have to find the cause of it.
Thumbnail - click to download the JPG file
||25 Meg WAV file with the raw PCM audio of the signal
To be sure; I moved the antenna
around and the signal did get stronger in places but never went away even when I
turned the antenna 180° so the signal is local not ET with a Bazillion watt transmitter
beaming it right at SETI Net.
The signal zero beat frequency is
1420,450,900 with the receiver in SSB mode and drifting.
off all the equipment in my lab - no change.
I shut down my
computers - no change.
I went around the house and made sure NOTHING was
running - no change.
done everything I can do without a scanning receiver to look around the
neighborhood. It could be a new cell phone tower that has come
on line, a new TV of one of my neighbors, a new bird developed right inside my
receiver, who knows.
to leave the receiver on the signal and wait to see if it goes away. You
can listen to it on the audio/video feed from the front page of this web site.
2007-08-08 Return of the WOW?
- I try to visit the WOW area periodically but since it is so low on the
horizon I only get a couple of hours a day to look. Today I did see a
signal (click on the JPGs below).
- System running at full resolution
- I was able to move off signal using Az and the signal did drop off as
expected. I could not move down in El because I was right next to the
lower limit of travel but a +El did drop the signal.
- Chirp off but it looks like some Doppler in the signal
- Alarm at 18% threshold
- I need someone to look at the signal for Doppler using the WAV below.
- I also need someone to attempt to acquire the signal independently of me.
- BUSTED - The next day after close
examination of this signal I realized that it was a very low level audio note
that had crept into my system - not RF at all. It is exactly 3.9 KHz and
it is 50 microvolt's in amplitude. This is just enough, with a high
enough amount of integration, to trip the alarm. I found this by moving
the receiver frequency and noting that the signal did not move.
JPG shows a signal about 1/4 from the left side
JPG shows same signal for verification
2007-08-08T23-53-23.WAV 20 Meg file
2007-08-09T00-01-52.WAV 55 Meg file a
few minutes after midnight local time
2007-02-05 WOW.xml No features
2007-02-02 WOW.xml No features today
2007-02-01 WOW.xml No features
2007-01-31 WOW.xml No features.
2007-01-28 Because of a failure in the SETI Net hardware all the data
collected below is useless
2007-01-27 WOW.xml WOW 8 & 9 all
2007-01-25 WOW.xml WOW 5,6 & 7 all
2007-01-14 WOW-4.xml Observation 4 -
This was the Charger WOW collection where the Chargers lost to the New
England Patriots (damn)
2007-01-14 WOW-3.xml Observation 3 -
2007-01-14 WOW.xml Observation 2 at the
2007-01-13T10-15-34.WAV Observation 1
at the WOW zone (available on request)
- This WAV shows no features in any of its 20 JPGs
- The SETI Net Server went down during data collection and I had to stop and
restart the server
- I collected another 150 meg of WAV and then WOW set below the horizon.
This position is right at the bottom edge of my search area so it doesn't stay
in view very long.
Frame 10 of the WAV file