This answer to Did comets 266P/Christensen or P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) cause the Wow! signal? points out that the comets in question were nowhere near where the radio telescope was pointed.

Wikipedia says that the Ohio State University Radio Observatory (or Big Ear) was a Kraus-type radio telescope but doesn't provide enough information to deduce a field of view.


  1. What was the field of view of the Ohio State University Radio Observatory of Wow! signal fame?
  2. What would be the typical rise and fall times of a steady source passing through the fixed telescope's field of view as the Earth rotated?

@uhoh, I hope this answers your first question.

I sourced the following 2 paragraphs from an NBC article by Jesse Emspak, "Has Mysterious Signal From Space Finally Been Explained?":

Two big issues are that the signal didn't repeat, and it appeared for such a short time. Ehman noted that the Big Ear telescope had two "feed horns," each of which provides a slightly different field of view for a radio telescope.

"We should have seen the source come through twice in about 3 minutes: one response lasting 72 seconds and a second response for 72 seconds following within about a minute and a half," Ehman told Live Science. "We didn't see the second one."

The first para clearly states that the 'Big Ear' had no single field of view. I also tried to search for this in many ways, but with no luck, the telescope has also been disassembled.

For your second question though, it requires some thinking as the 2 'feed horns' of the telescope give slightly different field of views. I don't know the answer to this yet, but I will attempt to find it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... interesting, thanks! Well 72 seconds would be 0.3 degrees if the telescope were pointed towards the celestial equator (assume 360 degrees in 24 hours) and you can multiply that by the cosine of the declination, so I think you are almost there! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 13 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh, I haven't really ventured deep into Astronomical Math, but thanks for the info! $\endgroup$ – AyushBhatt Sep 13 at 8:42

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