New Delhi: On August 15, 1977 a radio telescope picked up a strange signal. It lasted just one minute and 12 seconds.
Nearly half a century later, the signal caught by the Big Ear radio telescope is considered of a potential extraterrestrial origin.
Astronomer Jerry Ehman circled "wow" on the strange frequency in the printout. Thus it got the mystic name.
Researchers have now traced the source of the radio signal to a sun-like star in the constellation Sagittarius, which is nearly 1800 light-years away from Earth, according to a research published in the International Journal of Astrobiology.
The researchers took into account a total of 66 G and K-type stars, to pin down on the potential source of the signal.
Only one of them is identified as the likely candidate, based on the available information.
Lead researcher Astronomer Alberto Caballero identified identified 2MASS 19281982-2640123 to be the ideal target in the search for techno-signatures of the signal.
The sun-like star 2MASS 19281982-2640123, identified in deep space, is too dim to image with current technology. Researchers believe it is the potential source of wow signal.
Interestingly, it has taken over 45 years to search the source of a signal that disappeared in a flash. Because, it has never been repeated since.
"If we analyse the history of (the few) radio signals that humanity have sent to several targets in the hope of contacting a civilization, none of those transmissions had a long duration or were repeatedly sent for a long time. An extraterrestrial civilization could have opted to behave in a similar manner," Caballero said in the paper.