In the movie and in the early episodes of Stargate SG-1, whenever a team travelled from Earth to their destination they always arrived 'cold'. This is especially noticeable in the movie.

In the later series, however, this no longer happens. Was a reason for this change ever stated in the show? What happened to the 'freezing' side effect of gate travel?

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    My guess is that it was an effect of a minor incompatibility between the dialing computer and the gate (maybe a lack of sufficient power, or perhaps a missing command). Once they figured out the problem the freezing effect probably went away.
    – Xantec
    Jan 16, 2013 at 15:03
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    Wikipedia says " This is possibly explained by the 'freezing effect' also witnessed – heat energy is converted to kinetic energy, both cooling the object and increasing its velocity. These effects were countered during an upgrade of Stargate Command's dialing computer.". But this is completely unsourced, so likely is an attempted explanation by someone writing the Wikipedia article instead of canon info. Jan 16, 2013 at 15:05
  • There is also the possibility that the writers just forgot. They aren't perfect. Jan 16, 2013 at 15:34
  • @DVK: I have no sources, but I'm fairly sure that it was actually tackled in the show. I'm not sure whether they explicitly spelled out that it was related to energy misconversion, but it's a safe bet given that the primary sign of "oh no our gate isn't working quite right" always seems to be flinging things out of the other end.
    – Phoshi
    Jan 16, 2013 at 18:53
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    It was probably a make-up decision. "Ok, guys, for every episode we're going to spray you and your costumes with frost. Hmm, that's a lot of frost and we're on a tight budget. Never mind. Let's skip it and hope no one notices."
    – BBlake
    Jan 17, 2013 at 14:08

4 Answers 4


I think this was addressed in the show's pilot Children of the Gods. On Abydos, they find a bunch of new gate addresses. Carter comments:

Now with this map as a base, that should be easy. All we have to do is correct for Doppler shift. Then I should be able to arrive at a computer model that will predict the adjustments necessary to get the Gate working again.

I'll have to rewatch some early episodes to confirm that in the 3rd, 4th, etc episodes that there is no frost on them when they exit the gate, but I think this may have been the data they needed to fix the frosting problem.

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    As of that episode, Carter's correction was because Daniel couldn't get any of those addresses to work from Abydos. Abydos and Earth were sufficiently close to their original coordinates that gate travel with the original coordinates was possible through them, but with other worlds it was not. However, the correlative update introduced later in the series should have negated this reasoning from Abydos, which still had a DHD... Unless Ra had disabled the correlative update from that DHD, to keep it "off the grid", and his source of humans a secret. Which I don't think was ever stated...
    – Izkata
    Jan 16, 2013 at 23:51
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    I don't get how the quote addresses the question. Reading the transcript, it sounds like they're just updating the map based on the metric expansion of the universe. Are you implying that the freezing effect is due to inaccurate coordinates? Sep 2, 2013 at 17:37
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    @Lèsemajesté - The implication is that once she's able to align the gate better, there's a bunch of benefits including the gate being less shaky, the gate not causing the frostbite, the gate not throwing people out of it.
    – Valorum
    May 23, 2022 at 8:58

In the Pilot episode carter explains that the freezing is due to the momentary compression of your atoms needed during your reconstruction on the other side. But considering the other freezing moments listed, although its never referenced directly, its due to a strained connection between gates (possibly a safety protocol to ensure you live).

In The Torment of Tantalus Carter explains how a team was able to activate the gate in 1947 and sent a traveller to an address in a similar alignment to Abydos, where the drift has been minor in relation to earth. Thereby skirting the problem of stellar drift.

So yes, although never directly explained in the show, there are many references to shoddy connections and freezing upon re-entry.


Out of universe, they seems to have removed the effect because of health considerations to the actors and the time taken to apply the makeup.

R[ichard] D[ean] A[nderson]: There, that's the shot! Look at that, and on my face.

B[rad] W[right]: What's wrong with that?

RDA: Well, it's the last time you ever saw it.

BW: Oh, the, the, the frost?

RDA: Yeah, the frostbite.

BW: Oh, I don't…

RDA: That stuff was poisonous, caustic, and it took hours to apply.

Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods, Final Cut (2009) Transcript of Audio Commentary

Also confirmed by Michael Shanks in an interview on TV.

He did mention the DVD movies and answered a “fan” question about why the show no longer showed frost on the Stargate travelers when they arrived on the other side. Shanks teased that they found out that the substance was toxic! Clearly relaxed and enjoying his visit, Shanks smiled throughout the interview.

Shanks Interviewed by TV Guide Network

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    Wow. So interesting and revealing answer. Other explanations, I also figured out myself, from context of misalignment. Mar 18, 2023 at 1:26
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    @BogdanMart - I find it endlessly fascinating how sometimes the 'tail wags the dog' in TV and movie production, where out-of-universe considerations drive in-universe explanations.
    – Valorum
    Mar 18, 2023 at 5:41

When the crew of the Destiny in SGU traverses the wormhole from Icarus to Destiny, they have the freezing effect, I believe when there are stellar drift inconsistencies, or extremely remote or fringe distance connections that the freezing effect happens, and that when you have a strong, well aligned connection it doesn't... Perhaps a limitation/side effect of the technology?

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