Radio telescopes like the Very Large Array in New Mexico scan the skies
Joe McNally—Getty Images
September 12, 2016

WOW? NOT NOW

The famous “Wow!” signal detected in 1977 is often cited as evidence for alien life. But in January, a Florida academic determined that the 72-second emission likely came from two comets.

SPACE HEATER

In 2015, Australian astronomers figured out that the baffling radio signals they had detected during daytime for the past 17 years were caused not by E.T. but by a microwave in their observatory.

SIGNAL FAILURE

Scientists in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, were disappointed in 1997 when a signal seemingly from a constellation 22 light-years away turned out to be from a satellite a million miles from Earth.

This appears in the September 12, 2016 issue of TIME.

Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com.

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