# Stargate SG1 Questions

1. Sep 2, 2007

### cepheid

Staff Emeritus
"Stargate SG1" Questions

Is anybody here a fan of the television sci-fi series Stargate SG-1? If so, maybe you can help me out with a few questions I have. I'm a casual fan and haven't seen all of the episodes. Most of these questions pertain to the way the stargates "work" in the show as discussed here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_(device)#Operation

1. Why are six symbols (seven including the point of origin) used to determine a specific destination? This figure

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:StargateCoordinates.svg

tries to explain it: the destination is at the intersection point of the three lines that are drawn connecting each of three pairs of constellations for a total of six symbols. However, it seems from the diagram that once you have drawn two lines connecting two of the three pairs, those two lines intersect at a unique point, making the third line seem somewhat redundant. So why don't you need only FOUR symbols (five including point of origin)?

2. While we're on the subject, what is the advantage of this system over a more traditional 3D coordinate system e.g. spherical polar with the origin at the galactic centre? The only one I can think of off the top of my head is that a large number of destinations can be addressed using a finite number of universal symbols (namely, the 38 + 1 symbols that are carved onto a gate). However, what would be the problem with making an input device like a computer that enables you to enter the coordinates yourself onto a display? (So what if there are an infinite number of real numbers? There's no rule saying that they have to be carved onto the input device.)

3. Speaking of the finite number of universal symbols, that wikipedia article says that they are images of actual constellations, as viewed from Earth. Now, in the Stargate FILM, other stargates had an entirely different set of symbols, which makes sense, because if you look at the stars from some location other than Earth, you aren't going to see those constellations (which again calls into question their use as "reference locations"). However, in the TV series, it would seem that all gates have the same 38 symbols (the Earth constellations). Is this "geo-centric" system explained adequately on screen?

4. Speaking of the constellations, weren't the Stargates built by "The Ancients" tens of millions of years before humanity even existed? So why do the constellations look exactly like the modern ones agreed upon by the IAU? It seems unlikely that the Ancients would have independently come up with the same patterns in the sky, considering that different cultures on Earth have come up with different names and different ways of connecting/grouping the stars. Okay, you could argue that the Goa'uld redecorated the Stargates with more familiar symbols once they arrived on Earth. But revamping the gate network's addressing system seems like a lot of work, and is out of character for the Goa'uld, who prefer to appropriate and use technology, rather than to learn about it. For the sake of argument, say that they DID change the symbols. That still doesn't explain away this problem. Most of those constellations originated with the ancient Greeks. Now, some system lords DO have names corresponding to deities in Greek/Roman mythology afaik, suggesting that they did visit Earth and influence its populace. That having been said, it is my understanding that the only functioning stargate on Earth was entirely under the control of the System Lord Ra, during the time of the Ancient Egyptians. If so, why don't the symbols on the gate correspond to *Egyptian* star groupings, whatever those may have been?

2. Sep 2, 2007

### zoobyshoe

http://www.trekkers.se/foto/Lon_344_shatner.jpg [Broken]
"Get a Life!"

Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
3. Sep 3, 2007

### cepheid

Staff Emeritus
Hey man, this is general discussion. It's just for fun. As I stated in my OP, which you probably didn't read, I am a *casual* fan. I started watching the show, and these questions came to my mind naturally. I thought I'd find out whether anyone had seen more of the show than I had, and had come across a plausible explanation for some of these issues. Granted, this is PF (i.e. there are no geeks here... ), but I didn't expect such a negative reception. I suppose I could have sought out a forum about SG1, but quite frankly I'm not going to because...I have a life. I don't plan to sit around all day discussing the TV series. It was just these questions that came to mind, and that I thought to share with the community here.

Last edited: Sep 3, 2007
4. Sep 3, 2007

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
I think Zoob was playing with you ... in a "Trekkies rule; Gaters suck!" kind of way.

5. Sep 3, 2007

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
There's nothing wrong with Star Trek or Stargate. It's the Dr. Who fans who should get a life.
*runs and hides*

6. Sep 3, 2007

### cepheid

Staff Emeritus
Fair enough. I'm not looking to kick up a fuss. I just wanted a chance to explain where I'm coming from. I'm not so sure I buy into your, "lighten up! Zoob was just jerking your chain" response. I mean, it doesn't matter how good-natured his joke was *intended* to be, but what effect it actually had. How would you feel if you started a thread earnestly, only to receive an off the cuff and dismissive response, esp. one that implied you were as bad as a rabid trekkie, just because you wanted to discuss science fiction? As it happens, I have been a Star Trek fan for a very long time, whereas I am only just getting into Stargate. Believe it or not, I can sympathize with Shatner's sentiment, if not his attitude, when he made that remark. Those Trek fans who are obsessed to the point of forgoing rational thought or losing the ability to distinguish fiction from reality -- they tend to give the rest of the fans a bad name. Even so, based on my explanation, I would hope that Zoobyshoe would understand that humour is a relative thing, and that his post *could* have been received as insulting, even hurtful. But you know what? I *will* lighten up and I *will* give him the benefit of the doubt. I just wanted to state for the record that I was a bit irked. Irked in a "c'mon, that's the first response I get?" sort of way. I mean, it didn't really contribute anything to the discussion. I'm sure other people can sympathize with that sentiment, esp. the moderators who are nazi-like about off topic posts.

Anyway, no hard feelings. Feel free to discuss the original topic if you wish!

7. Sep 3, 2007

### arunma

Heh...I'm a Stargate fan. Believe it or not, I didn't know that SG-1 even existed until September 06. After seeing the first episode, I concluded that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and proceeded to watch every episode of SG-1 and Atlantis (without any detriment to my grades!).

Actually, last year I was discussing this with other members of my undergraduate physics club. We concluded that that the constellations defined planes, and that the center of each plane must define a unique point in space. As to the drifting of stars in space, I'm not familiar enough with cosmology to say for certain. But I'm fairly certain that 150 million years wouldn't cause a significant enough change in the positions of stars that the constellations wouldn't still be similar. In fact, they addressed this issue in the first episode of SG-1. Apparently the reason the earth Stargate could only go to Abydos is because it was the closest planet to earth with a Stargate and that all the other planets had drifted too far away. They in fact used a map in the pyramid (i.e. Ra's landing pad) to recalibrate the earth Stargate to account for the shift in the planets' motion. Other Stargates, which possessed dialing devices built by the Ancients, had made this adjustment automatically, whereas Air Force's dialing computer had to be manually reprogrammed.

Don't worry, I do know the difference between Stargate and reality!

8. Sep 3, 2007

### cepheid

Staff Emeritus
How did you achieve this?!

Interesting, and it would explain the need for six symbols. I'm not sure how a constellation could "define a plane" though...

Good point. I seem to remember that vaguely (I think I have seen the pilot episode). I was not referring to actual changes in the constellations due to shifts in relative positions of the stars though. I was referring to the fact that the Ancients would probably assign different groupings to the same stars (i.e., looking at the same sky, it seems like too much of a coincidence that they would make up exactly the same constellations as humans did much later.) They would make different constellations out of the same stars. So why would the symbols on the stargate correspond to human-made constellations?

9. Sep 3, 2007

### moose

It's possible that we got our constellations out of what they saw. If you noticed, a ton of mythology is discussed in SG1 and seems to all go back to some alien or another. So I suppose it's possible that the ancients found those, then somehow were shown to humans at some point or another.

10. Sep 3, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

Constellations aren't really a special group of stars. It is just a picture made up to correspond to what certain stars look like from earth. Looking at the same area from another part of the galaxy or universe, you would no longer see these stars as a similar group. The perspective would be completely different. They only appear as a group from our perspective. From another location the same stars may have no formation at all.

With that said, why would earth observed "constellations" be on stargates on other worlds? This makes absolutely no sense, especially since the stargates are an alien technology.

Last edited: Sep 3, 2007
11. Sep 3, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
I used to watch the show about 4 or 5 years ago, but NEVER even considered questioning any of that stuff. I just chalk it up to being TV fiction type stuff where you're not supposed to think about things too hard or it stops being fun.

12. Sep 3, 2007

### cristo

Staff Emeritus
I hope you're still hiding over there, MIH! Dr. Who is brilliant!!

13. Sep 3, 2007

### Hurkyl

Staff Emeritus
According to Wikipedia, the Earth was the capital of the ancients' empire... or at least one of their most important planets, and home of the first stargate.

That said, the glyphs only vaguely seem to resemble their corresponding constellation...

14. Sep 3, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

Hmmm, from the movie, it was an alien that was dying and he came to earth and took over the body of a young Egyptian boy. He was a lone alien, no other of his kind. It didn't get into any other history. I guess they had to flesh it out more for the tv series.

15. Sep 3, 2007

### Hurkyl

Staff Emeritus
The Goa'uld (the race of which Ra was a part) were not the creators of the stargates; they simply knew how to use them.

16. Sep 3, 2007

### cepheid

Staff Emeritus
Yeah, what Evo said in post #10 is what I was trying to say in my 3rd question of the OP. Did they adequately address this "geo-centric" system in the show? Maybe not...

Yeah Hurkyl, that's a good point about some of the glyphs not looking much like the constellations they are supposed to correspond to. But the one for Orion looks just like Orion.

17. Sep 3, 2007

### G01

This is one of the discrepancies between the show and the movie. In the show, it is pointed out that Ra was not the last of his race as Dr. Jackson originally thought. There are severally more discrepancies as well, but either way, great movie and great show.

WHAT DID YOU SAY MIH!!!! You can't hide forever....Us Dr. Who fans will eventually land our TARDIS's in your hiding spot!

Amen!

Last edited: Sep 3, 2007
18. Sep 3, 2007

### moose

Maybe the ancients had a lot to do with earth way long ago.

19. Sep 3, 2007

### G01

I thought the symbols were different on every gate. Wasn't a whole subplot in the movie based around Dr. Jackson trying to find the plate with the symbols for the Stargate on Abydos (the planet in the movie)?

It wasn't until they found the symbol database on Abydos that they were able to easily gate from world to world like they do in the show.

20. Sep 4, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

It was the symbol for earth that was missing. Of course the earth symbol wasn't on the stargate on earth and he needed to know what the symbol was to return. In the movie there wasn't a symbol database, it was a story written on a wall that showed the earth symbol.