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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Wow! Signal
Wow! Signal
TalismanDate: Saturday, 28.01.2012, 22:14 | Message # 1
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wow!_signal

Thoughts on that?

I thought this was pretty interesting as well:

Quote
"It is worth noting that the two different values given for the frequency of the Wow! signal (1420.356 MHz and 1420.4556 MHz) are the same distance apart to the hydrogen line - the first being about 0.0498 MHz less than the hydrogen line, and the second being about 0.0498 MHz more than the hydrogen line. The bandwidth of the signal is less than 10 kHz (each column on the printout corresponds to a 10 kHz-wide channel; the signal is only present in one column)."





 
SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 29.01.2012, 00:09 | Message # 2
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I think that was a glitch. Some earth-based interference, like an electrical discharge or short-circuit. Or bug in their hardware.

*





 
TwoNybbleDate: Monday, 30.01.2012, 01:06 | Message # 3
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How would you explain the signal being precisely 72 seconds long, the exact amount of time the dishes would pick up the signal for before Earth's rotation moved them completely out of range? Surely the chances of a glitch being precisely that amount of time are very low. Especially since this event only occurred once. You would think that a bug would have revealed itself at least more than once in its years of use.

And disregarding a glitch, it has been found that the signal being of Earth or even solar system origin is extremely unlikely for many reasons, some of which are outlined in the Wikipedia page.

I'm not saying it absolutely could not be a glitch or coincidence, cause it certainly could be. But personally, I believe that it may have been some kind of extrasolar radio source, or possibly reflection of our own radio, although this is unlikely. Whether it is of artificial origin or not.... I don't know, but I certainly hope it is haha! biggrin
 
DeathFromBelowDate: Monday, 30.01.2012, 02:11 | Message # 4
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SETI programs have consistently found these sort of events, but they never repeat.

Here's a bit from Carl Sagan's book 'Pale Blue Dot' about the findings of the META search program (sorry about the wall of text):
___

"Of course, there's a background level of radio noise from Earth-radio and television stations, aircraft, portable telephones, nearby and more distant spacecraft. Also, as with all radio receivers, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that there'll be some random fluctuation in the electronics so strong that it generates a spurious signal. So we ignore anything that isn't much louder than the background. Any strong narrow-band signal that remains in a single channel we take very seriously. As it logs in the data, META automatically tells the human operators to pay attention to certain signals. Over five years we made some 60 trillion observations at various frequencies, while examining the entire accessible sky. A few dozen signals survive the culling. These are subjected to further scrutiny, and almost all of them are rejected-for example, because an error has been found by fault-detection microprocessors that examine the signal-detection microprocessors.

What's left-the strongest candidate signals after three surveys of the sky-are 11 "events." They satisfy all but one of our criteria for a genuine alien signal. But the one failed criterion is supremely important: Verifiability. We've never been able to find any of them again. We look back at that part of the sky three minutes later and there's nothing there. We look again the following day: nothing. Examine it a year later, or seven years later, and still there's nothing. It seems unlikely that every signal we get from alien civilizations would turn itself off a couple of minutes after we begin listening, and never repeat. (How would they know we're paying attention?) But, just possibly, this is the effect of twinkling. Stars twinkle because parcels
of turbulent air are moving across the line of sight between the star and us. Sometimes these air parcels act as a lens and cause the light rays from a given star to converge a little, making it momentarily brighter. Similarly, astronomical radio sources may also twinkle-owing to clouds of electrically charged (or "ionized") gas in the great near-vacuum between the stars. We observe this routinely with pulsars.

Imagine a radio signal that's a little below the strength that we could otherwise detect on Earth. Occasionally the signal will by chance be temporarily focused, amplified, and brought within the detectability range of our radio telescopes. The interesting thing is that the lifetimes of such brightening, predicted from the physics of the interstellar gas, are a few minutes-and the chance of reacquiring the signal is small. We should really be pointing steadily at these coordinates in the sky, watching them for months. Despite the fact that none of these signals repeats, there's an additional fact about them that, every time I think about it, sends a chill down my spine: 8 of the 11 best candidate signals lie in or near the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy. The five strongest are in the constellations Cassiopeia, Monoceros, Hydra, and two in Sagittarius-in the approximate direction of the center of the Galaxy. The Milky Way is a flat, wheel-like collection of gas and dust and stars. Its flatness is why we see it as a band of diffuse light across the night sky. That's where almost all the stars in our galaxy are. If our candidate signals really were radio interference from Earth or some undetected glitch in the detection electronics, we shouldn't see them preferentially when we're pointing at the Milky Way.

But maybe we had an especially unlucky and misleading run of statistics. The probability that this correlation with the galactic plane is due merely to chance is less than half a percent. Imagine a wall-size map of the sky, ranging from the North Star at the top to the fainter stars toward which the Earth's south pole points at the bottom. Snaking across this wall map are the irregular boundaries of the Milky Way. Now suppose that you were blindfolded and asked to throw five darts at random at the map (with much of the southern sky, inaccessible from Massachusetts, declared off limits). You'd have to throw the set of five darts more than 200 times before, by accident, you got them to fall as closely within the precincts of the Milky Way as the five strongest META signals did. Without repeatable signals, though, there's no way we can conclude that we've actually found extraterrestrial intelligence. Or maybe the events we've found are caused by some new kind of astrophysical phenomenon, something that nobody has thought of yet, by which not civilizations, but stars or gas clouds (or something) that do lie in the plane of the Milky Way emit strong signals in bafflingly narrow frequency bands. Let's permit ourselves, though, a moment of extravagant speculation. Let's imagine that all our surviving events are in fact due to radio beacons of other civilizations. Then we can estimate-from how little time we've spent watching each piece of sky-how many such transmitters there are in the entire Milky Way. The answer is something approaching a million. If randomly strewn through space, the nearest of them would be a few hundred light years away, too far for them to have picked up our own TV or radar signals yet. They would not know for another few centuries that a technical civilization has emerged on Earth. The Galaxy would be pulsing with life and intelligence, but-unless they're busily exploring huge numbers of obscure star systems-wholly oblivious of what has been happening down here lately. A few centuries from now, after they do hear from us, things might get very interesting. Fortunately, we'd have many generations to prepare."
___

Cool stuff. My biggest issue with this line of thought is that if there are advanced civilizations all over the galaxy then somebody should have stumbled over us by now. If a civilization had emerged a few hundred million years ago they would have had plenty of time to explore the whole galaxy. I suppose there are reasons why they might avoid contact, but IMO those sort of arguments sound an awful lot like using special pleading to justify religious beliefs.


Edited by DeathFromBelow - Monday, 30.01.2012, 02:14
 
TalismanDate: Monday, 30.01.2012, 03:36 | Message # 5
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Quote (DeathFromBelow)
Here's a bit from Carl Sagan's book 'Pale Blue Dot' about the findings of the META search program (sorry about the wall of text):


That was a really good read, I need to buy that book.

Quote (DeathFromBelow)

advanced civilizations all over the galaxy then somebody should have stumbled over us by now.


Why? Surely you've played Space Engine and know what the issue here is. It's space .

As far as we know it's impossible to travel faster then the speed of light, which means that even if there are millions of space faring civilizations you would have more of a chance to win the lottery 20 times in a row then encounter another sentient race in our tiny timescale.

As TwoNybble noted, It seems very unlikely to be a "glitch" in the system due to its characteristics but who knows.







Edited by Talisman - Monday, 30.01.2012, 03:42
 
DeathFromBelowDate: Monday, 30.01.2012, 14:58 | Message # 6
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Because millions, if not hundreds of millions of years is a lot of time to explore, especially if some sort of self-replicating spacecraft is used. Even at speeds well below c you could send a spacecraft to every star in the Milky Way in that time frame. For example, at 10% the speed of light (which seems feasible) you could get to the center of the galaxy in 300,000 years.

Here's a fun calculator for this sort of thing:
http://janus.astro.umd.edu/astro/distance/

It's entirely possible that they're already here, or that advanced civilizations don't really care, or that intelligent life is still rare given how young the universe is. We just don't know.
 
neutronium76Date: Thursday, 02.02.2012, 22:07 | Message # 7
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Quote (DeathFromBelow)
Even at speeds well below c you could send a spacecraft to every star in the Milky Way in that time frame


Quote (DeathFromBelow)
hundreds of millions of years is a lot of time to explore


Ok lets see if it is possible to visit EVERY star in our galaxy in 1 billion years by using a spacecraft capable of 0.1c with life replicating sustainability.
Lets say that our galaxy has 200 billion stars distributed within a perfectly spherical grid in a perfectly homogenous distribution pattern (which is NOT the case bytheway but anyway rolleyes ...). Lets say that these stars are seperated from each other by an average distance of 10LYs. So it would take 100 years to travel from star to star (average time not accounting for acceleration/decceleration/exploration of each solar system/ resource gathering/ ship maintenance etc)
so in 1 billion years you would have managed to travel (You Hlander wink ) 1,000,000,000/100(per star) = 10,000,000 stars
200,000,000,000-10,000,000 = 199,990,000,000 remaining to be explored. If somebody could doublecheck cause I am not good in maths dry

AS somebody argued in the "infinity'' project forums: Even if you could travel to every star in the galaxy every second, you would die before you could visit them all... biggrin

PS: Ahh all these made me soo soo depressed again... sad





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Edited by neutronium76 - Thursday, 02.02.2012, 22:20
 
SpaceEngineerDate: Friday, 03.02.2012, 11:12 | Message # 8
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neutronium76, did you hear about von Neumann machine concept? This is a self-replicating automatic spaceship. Once it reaches a star system, it collects data and sends it home. After that, it starts gathering resources and builds a new von Neumann machine. Then it goes to the next star, and the newly built ship goes off to another. In that star system they replicate themself again, and agian, and again. They reproduce like bacteria, their number growing exponentially as they move through the galaxy. Starting with the single ship, we will have 2 ships after 100 years, 4 ships after 200, 8 after 400, and 200 billions ships after 3754 years. We can even reduce the replicating rate. It takes 100*100,000 = 10 million years to cross the galaxy, but we already have 200 billions ships after the first few thousands years, so every ship can be sent directly to every star in the galaxy.

*





 
TalismanDate: Friday, 03.02.2012, 19:59 | Message # 9
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The Von Neumann concept is pretty cool, but I just can't imagine how advanced a civilization would be if they can create probes that are able to seek out asteroids in another solar system, and then mine them for the minerals needed to create another probe, imagine all the fine metals that would have to be extracted and how much time it would take to fly around examining all the asteroids or planets for the required materials to build another.




 
SpaceEngineerDate: Friday, 03.02.2012, 21:39 | Message # 10
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Quote (Talisman)
and how much time it would take to fly around examining all the asteroids or planets for the required materials to build another.

Even if it takes 1000 years, von Neumann probes allows a clivilization to explore the whole galaxy as quickly as possible - the limit is only interstellar flight speed and back data transfering speed (it works with FTL drive technology too).

*





 
TalismanDate: Friday, 03.02.2012, 22:01 | Message # 11
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Even if it takes a 1000 years, von Neumann probes allows a clivilization to explore the whole galaxy as quickly as possible - limit is only interstellar flight speed and back data transfering speed (it works with FTL drive technology too).


Yes of course. That is the most efficient way to fully explore a galaxy.

Perhaps there are one or two different von neumann probes mining our asteroid belt at this very moment. cool





 
SpaceEngineerDate: Saturday, 04.02.2012, 11:05 | Message # 12
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Perhaps there are one or two different von neumann probes mining our asteroid belt at this very moment.

Yes. I hope there is no "berserker" probes in our galaxy, which program is to find and destroy any life.

*





 
TalismanDate: Saturday, 04.02.2012, 17:58 | Message # 13
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Yes. I hope there is no "berserker" probes in our galaxy, which program is to find and destroy any life.


Haha, lets hope it takes a long long time for it to gather sufficient nuclear materials from our asteroid belt needed to destroy Earth. cool





 
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