Hydrogen Clouds from Comets 266/P Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) are Candidates for the Source of the 1977 “WOW” Signal

Washington Academy of Sciences

Winter 2016

Prof. Paris, St. Petersburg College

Dr. Evan Davies, The Explorers Club


On 1977 August 15, the Ohio State University Radio Observatory detected a strong narrowband signal northwest of the globular star cluster M55 in the constellation Sagittarius (Sgr) [1]. The frequency of the signal, which closely matched the hydrogen line (1420.40575177 MHz), peaked at approximately 23:16:01 EDT [2]. Since then, several investigations into the “Wow” signal have ruled out the source as terrestrial in origin or other objects such as satellites, planets and asteroids. From 1977 July 27 to 1977 August 15, comets 266P/Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) were transiting in the neighborhood of the Chi Sagittarii star group. Ephemerides for both comets during this orbital period placed them at the vicinity of the “Wow” signal [3]. Surrounding every active comet, such as 266P/Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs), is a large hydrogen cloud with a radius of several million kilometers around their nucleus [4]. These two comets were not detected until after 2006, therefore, the comets and/or their hydrogen clouds were not accounted for during the “Wow” signal emission. Because the frequency for the “Wow” signal fell close to the hydrogen line, and the hydrogen clouds of 266P/Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) were in the proximity of the right ascension and declination values of the “Wow” signal, the comet(s) and/or their hydrogen clouds are strong candidates for the source of the 1977 “Wow” signal.

Read Full Paper Here: Paris_Davies (H I Line Signal)