On the night of August 15, 1977, the Big Ear telescope – located at Ohio State University, USA – received a strong radio signal from the Sagittarius constellation, which would eventually create radio astronomy history. Constructed in 1961 and functional since 1963, the Big Ear radio telescope was part of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project. Since the project began in 1973, it ended up being one of the longest running SETI projects ever, until it was shut down in 1995. Astronomer Jerry Ehman who had volunteered in analyzing the large amounts of data – collected from extragalactic radio sources – was in for a surprise while he was studying the data on printed perforated paper. The radio data was so startling for him that while encircling the anomalous data points, he commented “Wow!” on the side. This is how it popularly came to be known as the “Wow! Signal”.
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