Wow! Experiment


Synopsis: Peer-reviewed and published in the Washington Academy of Sciences Journal, the Center for Planetary Science  proposed a hypothesis stating the famous 1977 “Wow!” signal was a result of two comets emitting hydrogen while transiting the globular star cluster M55 in the constellation Sagittarius.  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. Therefore, 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.


Location of Wow! Signal and Potential Sources of the Signal

After dozens of local, national, and international interviews with the media, including BBC News, NBC News, CBS News, The Smithsonian, The Guardian, Astronomy Magazine, Popular Mechanics and New Scientist, the Center for Planetary Science must now test the hypothesis and we need your help!

Comet 266P/Christensen will transit the neighborhood of the “Wow” signal again on January 25, 2017.  And, on January 07, 2018 comet P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) will also transit the neighborhood of the “Wow” signal. With your assistance, The Center for Planetary Science will have an opportunity to direct a radio telescope toward this phenomenon, analyze the hydrogen spectra of these two comets, and test our hypothesis.

Primary Investigator: Antonio Paris

Science Advisor: Evan Davies

Chief Engineering Technician: Dennis Farr

Major Support: Meade Instruments Corp.

Our 10-meter Radio Telescope with custom 1420 mhz Feedhorn from Spectracyber


Exterior of Site-B Operations Observatory (Former NASA Mobile Dome)


Interior of Site-B Operations Dome


Meade Instruments provided the project a 14″ Meade LX200 for optical observations.


Our first experiment – testing the feed horn (Cygnus A)


We have shifted our log book to here, in date-entry format: Wow Research Logbook