Science

Listen: How a 72-Second Burst of Radio Waves Stimulated Our Curiosity About Aliens

Astronomers hope to find the mystery behind the source of a strange signal and probe the possibility of an extraterrestrial form of life.

A photograph of Jerry Ehman's notes, with his "Wow" written next to data indicating the strange strength of the signal. Credit: tonynetone/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

A photograph of Jerry Ehman’s notes, with his “Wow” written next to data indicating the strange strength of the signal. Credit: tonynetone/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Thirty-nine years ago, a radio telescope called Big Ear in Ohio received a sudden burst of radio waves that were most likely from a source near the constellation Sagittarius. The signal, called the ‘Wow’ signal and named after astronomer Jerry Ehman’s reaction to it, has never been heard again. But a few astronomers hope to find the mystery behind the source of the signal in the next few years and (hopefully) probe the possibility of an extraterrestrial form of life.

This is the latest episode of The Intersection, a fortnightly podcast on Audiomatic. For more such podcasts visit audiomatic.in.