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The WOW! seti signal is still puzzling scientists even after 40 years.

FromHACK

 

On a balmy August evening in 1977, an enormous radio telescope in a field in the middle of Ohio sat silently listening to the radio universe. Shortly after 10:00 PM, the Earth’s rotation slewed the telescope through a powerful radio signal whose passage was noted only by the slight change in tone in the song sung every twelve seconds by the line printer recording that evening’s data.

 

When the data was analyzed later, an astronomer’s marginal exclamation of the extraordinarily powerful by vanishingly brief blip would give the signal its forever name: the Wow! Signal. How we came to hear this signal, what it could possibly mean, and where it might have come from are all interesting details of an event that left a mystery in its wake, one that citizen scientists are now looking into with a fresh perspective. If it was sent from a region of space with habitable planets, it’s at least worth a listen.Understanding the Wow! Signal requires a look at the instrument that produced it. Affectionately known as “The Big Earâ€, the Ohio State University Radio Observatory was the vision of John D. Kraus, a physicist at Ohio State. Dr. Kraus was no stranger to big science — during WWII he developed methods for degaussing naval ships to protect them from magnetically detonated mines, and he worked on a massive cyclotron for the University of Michigan.

 

Dr. Kraus first described his idea for a telescope capable of detecting extraterrestrial radio signals in an article for Scientific American in 1955. The design of the telescope would be extremely simple, especially compared to the more typical fully steerable dish antenna. It consisted of a large, flat reflector section of steel mesh standing across an open space from a wide, stationary paraboloid reflector. Between these two elements lay a large, flat ground plane area of aluminum-covered pavement. At the focal point of the paraboloid reflector was a small shack containing the feed horns, which could move across the width of the telescope on railroad tracks. Although in general the telescope was static and pointed wherever the Earth’s rotation took it, the feedhorn tracking coupled with adjustments to the tilt of the flat reflector gave some control to which part of the sky was being surveyed.

 

The Big Ear was big: the flat reflector alone was 33 meters tall and 100 meters wide, and the ground plane stretched 150 meters between the two reflectors. But Dr. Kraus had actually designed a much, much bigger antenna.

 

His original design called for 600-meter-wide reflectors, but when the National Science Foundation grant came through in 1955 at a paltry $48,000, the design was reduced to what was possible. And even then, a great deal of “sweat equity†went into the construction of the Big Ear, with graduate students learning to weld specifically to build the telescope, and with critical equipment such as the parametric amplifiers needed for the receiver being built at cost by an OSU alumnus.

 

and from Leif Salvberg

As of October 2020, the WOW! Signal remains the strongest candidate SETI signal. It has been suggested that the signal was produced by hydrogen clouds from Comets 266/P Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Paris and Davies, 2015). However, this hypothesis has been dismissed by the scientific community, and the source of the signal remains unknown.

 

 

Despite the WOW! Signal never repeated, the key aspect was its duration. The signal lasted for 72 seconds, but since this was the maximum amount of time that the Big Ear radio telescope was able to observe, it is likely that the signal would have lasted longer.

 

 

The main problem, however, is that the signal never repeated. Follow-up observations of the area conducted by many observatories during several years never detected another signal (Gray and Ellingsen, 2002). Nonetheless, the fact that the signal never repeated, does not necessarily discard that it was produced by extraterrestrial intelligence.

 

 

In fact, if we analyse the history of (the few) radio signals that humanity have sent to several targets in the hope of contacting a civilization, none of those transmissions had a long duration or were repeatedly sent for a long time. An extraterrestrial civilization could have opted to behave in a similar manner.

 

 

Few attempts have been made to determine the exact location of the WOW! Signal due to the difficulty involved. Despite it was detected in just one of the two feed horns of the radio telescope, the data was processed in a way that does not allow us to determine which of the feed horns actually received the signal.

 

They are out there all right, but not wanting to get too close to us because of COVID (and Trump)..

Mick

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  • 3 weeks later...

From OIl Price Newscomes the news that China has joined the Russians, Europeans and Americans in creating plasma conditons hotter than the sun in the search for elusive positive net energy controlled Fusion reactors.

 

China’s HL-2M Tokamak reactor, located in the southwest of China in Sichuan province, uses ultra-powerful magnets to create and fuse hot plasma at temperature over 150 million degrees Celsius, a mind-blowing temperature “approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.†The tokamak that powered up for the first time last week was just the biggest and latest version of a project that China has been working on for almost 15 years now. "The development of nuclear fusion energy is not only a way to solve China's strategic energy needs, but also has great significance for the future sustainable development of China's energy and national economy," said the People's Daily, China’s largest news group and an official news outlet of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

 

Instead of competing with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an international nuclear fusion research project located in the south of France which is currently the world’s largest, China plans to work in collaboration with the project. ITER is still under development, and is slated to come online in 2025, when it could very well be the first major step toward commercializing nuclear fusion (despite the project’s whopping $22.5 billion price tag).

 

While it’s promising for the global energy future that there are so many promising fusion projects underway, and even more promising that there are plans in place for continued international scientific cooperation, it’s likely that China’s forays into fusion are more for the country’s own energy security than a vision of a global green energy utopia. China shocked the world earlier this fall with the scale and ambition of the country’s newest decarbonization goals - President Xi doubled down on China’s previous commitments and proclaimed that his fuel-hungry nation will reach peak emissions in just a decade and go on to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. To achieve this goal, China has leaned heavily on nuclear and renewable energies, but it’s more than likely that this, too, is more related to geopolitics and energy security than concerns about global warming. Regardless of the motivation, however, bringing down China’s carbon footprint is a win for all of us, and even more so if it can do that without leaving behind radioactive nuclear waste.

 

Successful fusion reactors really would be a world game changer.

But we have been waiting a long time for it.

Mick

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  • 4 months later...

Another one of those sciency things where the experts were surprised, ass they did not predict it.

from Electroverse

 

On May 12, a weak Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) released from the Sun hit Earth. The event was supposed to pass by uneventfully — it would perhaps spark a few auroras, but nothing more. So how did a strong G3 geomagnetic storm ensue?

 

Nobody was expecting a level 3 event from this CME.

 

Nobody saw the KP Index hitting 7.

And when I say nobody, I mean nobody predicted this: not NASA, NOAA, ESA or IPS in Australia.

The CME’s speed peaked at just 500 km/s (purple line below).

 

This is a little stronger than your standard solar wind, but weak in terms of a Coronal Mass Ejection.

It was not dense, and the filament released was hardly cause for concern.

 

“There is absolutely nothing in the history of space weather that advises the expectation of a strong geomagnetic storm off a mild CME produced by the eruption of a small plasma filament,†says Ben Davidson of SpaceWeatherNews.com.

 

And while a G3-storm / KP7 reading isn’t scary in of itself, the fact that Earth’s ever-waning magnetosphere couldn’t handle such a weak solar event is a cause for concern, particularly given that our planet’s magnetic field was calm at the time–there were no previous impacts or coronal hole streams which preceded the CME.

 

“The best explanation,†continues Davidson, “is that Earth’s magnetic field is weaker than we’ve all realized.â€

 

In the year 2000, we knew the field had lost 10 percent of its strength since the 1800s.

 

Another 5 percent was lost by 2010.

 

Further accelerations occurred in recent years, 2015 and 2017, but we laymen were not privy to any additional loss data–with guesses on why that might be quickly sending you down a conspiracy rabbit hole.

 

It once again highlights how little we know about things on a macro scale.

 

It goes on further

 

Given the last solid data point we have, that of 2010, our magnetic field should have handled Wednesday’s impact far better.

 

What happens when the next one hits on the heels of a coronal hole stream?

 

Or if the filament was bigger?

 

What happens when that X-class solar flare is launched in our direction?

 

The earths magnetic field is due for a pole swap, this may be the forerunner of a few scary things.

 

If the event outlined in that last sentence comes true, it will cause untold interruptions to communications, Electricity grids, transport, the internet, banking, and a few others that we didn't even think of.

Would be interesting to say the least.

Mick

 

 

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Ah, Point Nemo.

Have unhappy memories of that place.

An Indian cold caller tried to sell me some water front acreage there.

Said it was exclusive, great privacy, and only receives a few visitors per year.

Luckily I bought a house in Darwin instead.

Mick

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After the "unusual" disruption to earths magnetic fields after the CME last week, we may get a bigger bump tonight.

According to Spaceweather

Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible on May 18-19 when a pair of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field.

 

"The two CMEs left the sun on consecutive days: One from sunspot AR2822 on May 13th, the next from sunspot AR2823 on May 14th.

 

"Individually, the CMEs appear to be weak and insubstantial; however, they could add up to a geomagnetic storm when they arrive in quick succession this Tuesday."

 

It appeared the previous one was weak and insubstantial, but the KP index shot to 7.

Whats the chances this will be another "unprecedented" event??

Mick

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