Thursday 31 March 2022

Oh Wow 2022



by Henry Lewi

 Cachaça 51 cocktail


It happened again – and not just the once but repeated again and again at 1420 megahertz with a narrow bandwidth, each message lasting exactly 72 seconds with an intensity peaking at over 20 standard deviations higher than the background static. The signals were picked up by the Very Large Array Radio Telescope in New Mexico, the Alien Technology Array at the Hat Creek Observatory in California, and the Square Kilometre Array in Western Australia.

The signal was identical to the one first observed in 1977 and again in 2020, that the bright sparks at the Big Ear Observatory at Ohio State had nicknamed the WOW! Signal.

The original signal had been tracked back to a region in the Constellation Sagittarius occupied by the star Tau Sagittarii, well that was in 1977, the most recent signals emanated from the region of Tau Ceti, a Sun like yellow star in the Whale Constellation, Cetus, with four orbiting planets a mere 12 light years from Earth – in our own backyard!

 The astronomers, physicists and research teams around the world pored over the data attempting to understand and interpret the message with little result.  A team of Graduate students at the Radio astronomy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley had the bright idea of running the signal through the computers linked in with Caltech in Pasadena, and the images beamed to the Various Radio Astronomy departments worldwide as well as the US Department of Defence and the Pentagon.

As the Computer-generated Image appeared, there was a global collective gasp as the bright yellow smiley face clearly showing a thumbs up appeared on their numerous screens.

About the author 

Henry is a retired surgeon and member of the Canvey Writers Group. He has published a number of stories on the CafeLit site





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