How the 'Wow!' Signal Works

Lots More Information

Author's Note: How the 'Wow!' Signal Works

Like most people, I'm fascinated by the idea that somewhere deep in the far reaches of space, there's a planet that looks a lot like ours — or nothing like ours — that's home to intelligent life. I like to fantasize that this advanced race has overcome all of our technological and environmental challenges. They can produce limitless amounts of energy without burning fossil fuels or polluting the air. They can travel faster than the speed of light and manipulate the laws of space and time. They can eat all of the "Double Stuf" Oreos they want without gaining an ounce. (I said this was a fantasy.) My rational self knows that the chances of a "close encounter" with an alien race are impossibly remote, but in the meantime, I'm cheering for SETI and hoping for an even more miraculous "Wow!" moment.

Related Articles


  • Andersen, Ross. "The '"Wow!"' Signal: One Man's Search for SETI's Most Tantalizing Trace of Alien Life." The Atlantic. Feb. 16, 2012 (Feb. 4, 2015)
  • Gray, Robert H. and Marvel, Kevin B. "A VLA Search for the Ohio State 'Wow.'" The Astrophysical Journal. Jan. 10, 2001 (Feb. 4, 2015)
  • Kiger, Patrick J. "What is the "Wow!" Signal?" National Geographic (Feb. 4, 2015)
  • Krulwich, Robert. "Aliens Found in Ohio? The "Wow!" Signal." NPR. May 28, 2010 (Feb. 4, 2015)
  • NASA. "NASA's Kepler Marks 1,000th Exoplanet Discovery, Uncovers More Small Worlds in Habitable Zones." Jan. 6, 2015 (Feb. 5, 2015)
  • National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "Welcome to the Very Large Array!" (Feb. 4, 2015)
  • "Humanity Responds to 'Alien' Wow Signal, 35 Years Later." Aug. 17, 2012 (Feb. 4, 2015)
  • Vergano, Dan. "Kepler Telescope Discovers Most Earth-Like Planet Yet." National Geographic. April 17, 2014 (Feb. 4, 2015)

More to Explore