All the talk about Perseid Meteors this August has reminded me of a little-known role Ohio has played in attempting to learn if there is anyone else out there in the universe that may be trying to contact us.
I wrote about it in my book “Ohio Oddities” which has just been released in an updated version.
Did “E.T.” try to call Ohio back in 1977 and we didn’t answer? There’s evidence that ET or one of his extra-terrestrial buddies put in a call to earth, but we didn’t know how to answer it.
It’s gone now. It was the “Big Ear” our listening post in Ohio. Listening for any sign of life or communication from extra terrestrial intelligence.
The “Big Ear” was a project of Ohio State University and was the longest running SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) project ever conducted. It lasted from 1973 to 1998.
The “Ear” was a radio-telescope, a Kraus-type radio telescope, which covered an area larger than three football fields! It was located in Delaware, Ohio and during it’s watch on the heavens it became famous for discovering some of the most distant known objects in the universe as well as the “Wow” signal.
The “Wow” signal was an especially strong one that was picked up in 1977 and bore all the earmarks of being extraterrestrial. It was called “Wow” because of a comment penciled in the margins of a computer printout by one of the scientists that was working on the project, Jerry Ehman. The signal was at least one lunar distance away from Earth at the time when no known satellites were near the source.
But even with the demolition of the “Big Ear” a group of dedicated people has continued to attempt to build a new antenna to listen for a call from space.
You can follow their progress on their website: http://www.bigear.org/ and also get a better understanding of just how these things work.
Next door to where the Big Ear once stood is the Perkins Observatory at Ohio Wesleyan University. They have a small exhibit about the “Big Ear”project, as well as the original computer print-out of the day the “Wow” signal was heard and a model and pictures of the “Big Ear”
Perkins Observatory, Ohio Weslyen University, Route 23 South, Delaware, Ohio 740-363-1257 .