The word sector refers to a group of star systems in Star Wars, and in Trek quadrant means a quarter section of the galaxy as a whole.

But Babylon 5 doesn't seem to be so specific- certain individual planets have referred to as Quadrant 37 or 13 (two examples) while sector has occasionally been used to describe regions of completely empty space (no stars, planets- anything).

What do these words mean in the B5 continuity?

  • I rather doubt the show's creator, JMS, ever worked it out. When asked about the speed of White Star class ships in the show, he replied that they traveled at the speed of plot. For all the attempts at harder sci-fi in the show, he was more interested in telling stories, and thing like distance and locations were more tools for plot than a mapping system. – Radhil Sep 20 '15 at 1:51
  • Oh no! Now somebody's asking about sectors and quadrants in Babylon 5 as well as Star Trek! The system with a quadrant being a quarter of the galaxy was not introduced until "The Price" in the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Before that the words sector and quadrant both referred to much smaller regions of space, though the relationship between sectors and quadrants was unknown. Thus Star Trek "galactography" has included small quadrants, small sectors, and also vast quadrants each containing a quarter of the galaxy. – M. A. Golding Sep 20 '15 at 22:52

One thing for certain is that sectors are bigger than quadrants in B5.

Recall Quadrant 37 which was cleansed of Narn at Londo's request by the Shadows:

Quadrant 37 was system on the edge of Narn-Centauri space, located in Sector 157.

I think you are wrong that "specific planets" are referred to as quadrants. Quadrant 37 contained at least one planet, but was not the name or designation for the planet.

Also, sectors are fairly small considering the following:

Sector 21: Sh'lassen Sector. Known to be strategically close to both Narn and Centauri space.

If Sector 21 is between Narn and Centauri space and both empires fought over parts of Sector 157 too, it suggests that JMS' galaxy is divided very finely into sectors and even more finely into quadrants.

Other than this, the exact meanings and exact relationship between sectors and quadrants were not spelled out in B5.

  • I don't agree with that conclusion about sectors being small, they could be any size. Warfare isn't always about contiguous area. Look at WWII in the Pacific. The US and Japan fought over New Caledonia, Midway Island, and the Aleutians in the Southern, Central and Northern Pacific "sectors". I wouldn't call those small, and they're all strategically close to both sides. Similarly the enormous front between Germany and the USSR was split (according to the Germans) into just three fronts ("sectors"): North, Central and Southern. – Schwern Oct 24 '15 at 19:22

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