Alien “Wow!” signal finally explained after 40 years. Maybe.

Professor launches crowdfunding campaign to prove his theory

Alien life explained
The truth is out there... for £9,000 A Florida professor needs £9,000 funding to prove his theory about alien radio waves.

Alongside the release of Star Wars, the big deal from outer space in 1977 was the discovery of alien life.

Or so it seemed, if theories about a document written by a leading astronomer are to be believed.

Ohio astronomer Jerry Ehman regularly used the University’s radio telescope to scan for signs of alien life. And on August 15, Ehman found something.

“Professor Paris needs £9,000 funding to prove his theory”

A strong blast of radio waves suddenly exploded from somewhere in the Chi Sagittarii constellation. Lasting 72 seconds, Ehman circled the blast recorded on the Big Ear radio telescope and wrote a simple “Wow!’ next to it.

That “Wow!” has become the stuff of legend among UFO spotters and extra terrestrial experts. Too concrete to be dismissed as the usual X Files bobbins, but too, well, odd to be easily explained, the mystery of Jerry Ehman has baffled everyone.

Until now. Maybe.

Florida astrophysicist Professor Antonio Paris has researched Ehman’s findings in astronomy databases again. Part of the problem is that the “Wow!” signal hasn’t been repeated in the intervening 39 years.

But now, Prof Paris has discovered two comets that he believes could explain that 72-second burst of life. The trouble he is, he needs £9,000 to prove it.

A radio telescope
Yours for £9,000 A radio telescope of the kind Prof Paris needs to prove his comet theory. Image Picture Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images

The comets, catchily named 266P/Christensen and 335P/Gibbs, were active in the same Chi Sagittarii constellation at the time of Ehman’s findings. They weren’t recorded until years later – in 2006 and 2008 respectively – so nobody has previously made the connection to “Wow!”

Prof Paris believes that giant clouds of hydrogen gas which surround comets caused the “Wow!” blast.

Of course, Prof Paris needs proof before his theory can definitively be explained. But, as he told The Guardian, Prof Paris is in luck. Comet 266P/Christensen passes by Chi Sagittarii again on January 25 2017, with 335P/Gibbs back in the constellation almost exactly a year ago.

All suitable radio telescopes able to record the comets’ passing are already booked. So Prof Paris has launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy a new one. Yes, it sounds like the Nigerian astronaut scam, but Prof Paris has started a Gofundme page to raise the necessary £9,000 to buy a radio telescope.

“I’d like to be fully funded in May so I can have the equipment set up in October,” Prof Paris told The Guardian.

A couple of comets might not be as big a “Wow!” as ET. But at least it’d answer one of the biggest alien mysteries out there.

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Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn

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