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An anomalous, narrow-band burst of radio noise picked up on August 15, 1977, during SETI observations by the Big Ear of the Ohio State University Radio Observatory. The signal, which lasted 37 seconds and came from the direction of Sagittarius, attracted the attention of Ohio State astronomer Jerry Ehman, who scrawled "Wow!" in the margin of the print-out.
Originally posted by Wirral Bagpuss
Hmm what about the WOW signal back in 1976? That has never been fully explained to this day. I think this is the best candidate yet for a ET saying hello !
Originally posted by Flinx
"It has also been proposed that a fundamental information theoretical axiom might be behind the lack of recognized signals. Information theory states that a message that is compressed maximally is indistinguishable from white noise. However, the radio telescope SETI searches to date all assume the simplest form of radio beacon, which is a pure sine wave with no modulation, other than that due to relative motion, presumably explicitly intended as a beacon signal, of a very primitive communication medium. This search would completely miss very intense highly compressed broadcasts spread across the spectrum. "
" radio telescopes may simply not be facing in the direction from which signals are arriving, or listening on the appropriate frequencies, or using the appropriate demodulation."
In other words, we're not looking in the correct way. We could be surrounded by extraterrestrial messages and we wouldn't even know it. The chances of us finding a more primitive communication (the kind we're looking for) are not very good considering that they don't carry over a distance as well as compressed frequences.
Just think about it, compressed messages are indistinguishable from white noise...
Originally posted by smallpeeps
Actually, I think the larger question is this: Since we can agree that Earth is full of resources and is basically a gleaming jewel floating in space, how likely is it that ET has not sought us out and found us already? I say that's more likely since Earth has been here for at least 4 billion years.
I would imagine that a planet with a native, easily hypnotizable population would be a resource even greater than gold or 'unobtainium' or whatever other resource a species might desire. Slavery was outlawed on Earth not due to moral reasons but mainly because it didn't make financial sense after the industrial age. Slavery works, however, if you are A: way advanced from those you enslave, B: guide their evolution, and C: know how to hide well.
I'm not saying they're here already, but I think planets like Earth would be sought out by those alien civilizations. I mean, if you were flying around in space, observing gas giants and barren planets like Mars, wouldn't you see Earth as a hugely more valuable resource? Assuming ET isn't interested in us or hasn't found us yet is like assuming that an unlocked Corvette with the keys in it in would remain unstolen. In 4 billion years, it is illogical to assume aliens have never visited Earth, IMO.
[edit on 12-6-2005 by smallpeeps]
On the other hand, say you are right and they visited us, they may have found it similar to me or you finding a colony of ants on a walk in the woods! ie mildy entertaining for a few minutes as you observe their goings on, then bored and move on never to bother looking at them again.
Originally posted by Astronomer68