"Wow! Signal", film about a possible alien ping in 1977, "Wow! Signal", film about a possible alien ping in 1977

The documentary Wow! Signal (2017), directed by Bob Dawson, written by Michael Shaw, from Tricoasr (88 minutes, free on YouTube) tells the mega-story of the unusual signal received by Ohio State radio astronomer Jerry Ehman at their Big Ear observatory near Columbus Ohio.

An early part of the documentary discusses the range of wavelengths in the entire electromagnetic spectrum. At issue is low-frequency (invisible) radio waves. It mentions microwave flux, and it would be a good question why that can damage electronics.

The film, however, is as much about the history of the Ohio facility, and then the Green Bank West Virginia facility that more or less took over the work, as about the signal itself.


The signal arrived on August 15, 1977 and never showed up again.  There have been theories saying it had something to do with two comets.  But it has never been fully explained, and it seems reasonable that it could have been a ping from an advanced civilization perhaps thousands of light years away but in our galaxy (likely in the outer reaches, like ours, where the space weather is more stable).

I visited the Green Bank facility (visitors center) most recently in 2013, as best I recall.  The area has no cell service facilities for some distance, and some people choose to live there because they feel harmed by the waves. 

The film covers the tear-down of the Big Ear and related structures for real estate development. I have visited the Mount Vernon area, east of there, many times for extended family reasons. In 1970, on the way to my first “assignment” as an operations research employee of RCA (my first job) at Indianapolis, I spent the night in a motel near Ohio State, in sight of the stadium.

Today, Anton Petrov offered the video: "Did China Just Detect Signals From Alien Civilizations? Here's What We Know…But Probably No", video (fundraiser, check his site):

I thought I would also share “I asked AI to make a Music Video... the results are trippy”.  AI’s perception of a toyland comes across in 3D-like twisting images.

Maybe an alien civilization looks like this.

(Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at 3 PM EDT)