In 1977 radio astronomers at the Big Ear space telescope, searching for signs of extraterrestrial life, came across a signal that wasn't just odd, it was unbelievably strong! The signal, broadcast at at 1420.456 MHz, radiated from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius, and lasted just seventy-two seconds. When researcher Jerry R. Ehman came across the signal he wrote "Wow!" on the print out.
Antonio Paris, a professor of astronomy at Florida's St. Petersburg College, thinks he's figured out the source -- a pair of recently discovered comets!
Everything about the Wow! signal created huge interest. The frequency it was found on correlates strongly with the 'hydrogen line' and was believed to be a most-likely frequency to for Aliens to use when communicating with us. The intensity and sharp build-up/fall off of the signal led researchers to believe it came from a fixed point in the sky. Antonio Paris believes the signal was a sign of two comets, unidentified at the time of the recording, passing in front of the Big Ear.
Via New Scientist:
Comets release a lot of hydrogen as they swing around the sun. This happens because ultraviolet light breaks up their frozen water, creating a cloud of the gas extending millions of kilometres out from the comet itself.
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If the comets were passing in front of the Big Ear in 1977, they would have generated an apparently short-lived signal, as the telescope (now dismantled) had a fixed field of view. Searching that same area – as subsequent radio telescopes did – wouldn’t show anything.
Earlier this morning David posted a photo of a woman on Mars. We now know why she's there. Her 4-wheeled pareidoliaopede broke down and she is walking home. This is a photo of the axle and two wheels that broke off.
Here's the original photo at NASA's site. Read the rest
This mysterious humanoid figure was photographed on the red planet by the Mars Curiosity Rover. Read the rest
Digg takes a journey through time and space and all the aliens to grace celluloid, accompanied by Radiohead's Subterranean Homesick Alien.
From their earliest cinematic appearance in Georges Méliès's "A Trip to the Moon" in 1902, our conception of life beyond Earth has changed to reflect our hopes and fears, the technology we've mastered, and our growing knowledge of the universe. Watch our depictions of extraterrestrial life change over nearly 100 films and 112 years.
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Her series "Alien Camp" uses gel filters to help create a dreamy, painterly aesthetic as beautiful as it is strange. (via)
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Twenty years ago, William Barker's Schwa artwork revealed a world of alien abductions, stick figure insanity, conspiratorial crazy, and a hyper-branded surveillance state. It's now more relevant than ever.
Paul Hellyer was Canada's Minister of Defense in the mid-1960s. He is now a critic of the United States' willingness to trigger an interstellar war with aliens—aliens who might give us more advanced technology if only we were less belligerent. Read the rest
First, neither the authors of the paper, nor the journal its published in, have the best track record for careful work, well-documented research, or non-hyperbolic results. More important, the actual paper, itself, makes claims it can't back up
. Case in point, says Phil Plait, the alien in question is a particle the authors assume is part of a diatom — a single-celled plant. The paper actually says "assume", and, from the sounds of things, they haven't even checked out that basic, important idea with a diatom expert. Read the rest
Astronomers in the UK are planning to explore the skies for signs of alien life
, using a network of telescopes that can detect signals from other planets. The plans would make Britain the world's second-largest center for alien-hunting in the world, after America. [The Guardian] Read the rest
An unconfirmed report of a UFO over New Mexico is the most popular item in the FBI's online reading room, the agency reports. Russell Contreras with the AP:
Vaguely written, the memo describes a story told by an unnamed third party who claims an Air Force investigator reported that three flying saucers were recovered in New Mexico, though the memo doesn't say exactly where in the state. The FBI indexed the report for its files but did not investigate further; the name of an "infomant" reporting some of the information is blacked out in the memo.
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What would happen if scientists suddenly stumbled upon a message from outer space? There's not actually a formal plan. No international body has ever decided whether we reply or not, and, if so, how we do it and what we say. But in 1967, we did get a dry run at a close encounter and, in the process, worked out a system of how confirm and report an alien communication that's still used today. Technology review has the story. Read the rest
Dmitri Medvedev added that more details could be found in Barry Sonnenfeld's "Men in Black" films. This is an example of what the AP describes as "a sense of humor slightly more subtle than [President Vladimir] Putin's
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Ooooh. Wired Danger Room has some neat, recently declassified schematics of a "flying saucer" that the Air Force wanted to build
(but didn't) in the 1960s. Also included: Video showing why the proposal probably never made it to reality (Warning: Video contains a bad techno soundtrack!)
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Thanks, Kate Davis! Read the rest