Should we reply to the WOW! Signal?

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Should we reply to the WOW! Signal?

Post #1by alfa015 » 14.11.2020, 15:05


I recently wrote a paper (which I present here suggesting which star has the highest probability of being the source of the WOW! Signal.

Do you think that we should reply to the WOW! Signal or not?

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Post #2by Sirius_Alpha » 15.11.2020, 02:30

What are the G magnitudes of these stars? My concern is two-fold.

a) You present a list of fewer than a hundred candidates to search. Given the incidence of transiting planets, it is quite possible that none of these stars host transiting planets in their habitable zones, where the transit probability drops to ~0.0025. If you were intent on identifying planets around any particular star or set of stars, Doppler spectroscopy might be the best bet, being less sensitive to inclination. However...

b) The stars are rather dim, limiting the signal-to-noise of the radial velocity measurements. Even for bright, nearby stars, hundreds of measurements are needed to hammer down the noise-floor and reach the super-earth mass planets. For these dim stars, we might be limited to short-period, high-mass planets at best without the choice being taken to devote a lot of time (read: a lot of money) on the best instruments in the world to the task.

c) Let's assume that, somehow you get enough funding together to pull off the detection of an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of one of these stars (something that would even be an achievement around bright, nearby stars given our current technology). What then? You've devoted huge funds to detect a planet that you can't really follow-up on. We don't have the technology to investigate its atmosphere. We don't really have a way to know if the planet is the source of the Wow! signal (I'm sure you know further attempts to detect it have been attempted). You've ended up devoting a huge sum of resources for comparatively little gain.

No. We should not be devoting resources to this, imho.

Do you think that we should reply to the WOW! Signal or not?
It's kind of immaterial what I think, humanity already has.

Did you ever get around to writing a follow-up to your GJ 3470 paper noting that the radial velocity measurements rule out the planet candidate you claimed? I emplore you to value quality over quantity when it comes to research posted to arXiv.
Exoplanet nerd. I maintain a monthly-updated exoplanet catalogue here:

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Post #3by fyr02 » 22.12.2020, 18:45

The paper certainly is interesting.
However, after reading Caballero's paper, you can clearly see many flaws in his logic and methodology, which means that this paper is doing bad science, and should probably not be trusted - I highly doubt the Wow! signal came from the source he identified.

This "second" Wow Signal from Proxima Centauri is probably human in origin.

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