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Thread: Another WOW signal

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Some interesting information and thoughts about this signal from David Brin, That "Proxima Candidate" for a 2019 "SETI hit"? What's up with that?. David Brin Apparently he knows some of the people on the UC Berkeley-based Breakthrough Initiative team that was using the scope when this signal was received. The following quotes are from his linked blog post.

    The actual event in question occurred while the Parkes dish was taking in data about solar activity by Proxima itself, a class M5 red dwarf star of the UV Ceti type that is extremely flare-active, like most of its kind.
    The Parkes machine has a telescope half power beamwidth of 20 arcminutes, by some measures six arcminutes, encompassing about the diameter of the moon, as seen from Earth. The means the sensitive area would include scores of stars behind Proxima but still relatively nearby, plus thousands that are farther away. There are tricks to get much narrower resolution, but the 2019 survey of Proxima was all about getting data about that small, red star’s savage flare activity, and recording lots of that data for later analysis, not necessarily to search for SETI hits. This will turn out to be important.
    But how systematic the off-axis checks were, I don’t yet know. Meticulous, I hope, nodding in different directions, by different amounts. But perhaps not, since it was all automatic, at the time. In fact, if the off-axis 'nodding' happened on a timed-scheduled basis and not by human direction, it therefore could have been predictable to a very good spoofer, who might even have been able to tell when the control program ordered an off-axis 'nod," automatically shutting off the spoof signal at that point.
    Says Breakthrough List Chief Scientist Andrew Siemion: “BLC1 is, for all intents and purposes, just a tone, just one note. It has absolutely no additional features that we can discern at this point.” Which means there's no 'message' ... at least as decipherable so far. Though see below for a reason why this may be “our fault.”
    But the trait of this detection that truly stands out is that it appears to have been monochromatic, or very narrow in its 982.002 Mhz spectrum. That – to me – is the most-striking thing. Plus the fact that this narrow spike also had a very slight frequency drift, roughly commensurate with a Doppler shift arising from some kind of motion by the source with respect to Earth.
    But again, the top interesting trait is that the ‘signal’ is monochromatic, since that is consistent with the radio surge being a narrow beam – either focused by a huge dish or else created as a maser/laser . . .
    Oh, recall how I mentioned that, when Breakthrough researchers later mined the stored data for analysis, they found no modulation of the microwave surge, and hence no sign of anything like a ‘signal’ or ‘message’? Well there’s a technical flaw preventing much in the way of conclusions to be drawn from this, since the Parkes scope was taking in data with a 17 second integration time… which seems odd, given that Parkes is so big and Proxima so near. But then, I haven’t done radio astronomy since 1970, so I’ll not criticize. Except to say that such integration time could have smeared away almost any modulation that was originally in the beam.
    He then goes on to discuss possible explanations. I highly recommend going to his post and reading his bullet pointed possible explanations. He seems to favor "Instrumentation interference in the Parkes system itself." He also says that Deliberate Hoax (not by the detection team!) is worth considering.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    In 2016, for example, astronomer Antonio Paris hypothesized that the Wow! signal was caused by the faint comet 266P/Christensen, which was near the region of the sky at the time. This was based on the possibility that comets could emit radio signals at or close to the same frequency of 1,420 MHz.

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