I just remembered that the relative position of stars change with time. I made a quick search and found this reference : What Will the Constellations Look Like in 50,000 Years?

Little bear change in 50k years

I didn't see much from Stargate, except the Stargate (1994) movie and some random episodes, but as far as I remember, each Glyph on the Stargate represent a constellation and those serve as reference points.

So, is the fact that the constellations shape change over time versus the Glyphs shape explained somewhere in the franchise, or it's just ignored?

  • 1
    Of note, the original movie has Daniel Jackson figuring out that the glyphs are constellations when he sees the Orion constellation on the guard's newspaper. Turns out that the Orion glyph just shows his body, and the site you linked to shows that the body part of the constellation will still be the same 50,000 years from now. Actual research or a happy coincidence? Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 5:33

2 Answers 2


The phenomenon is called "Stellar Drift", and it is referenced in a few episodes.

Stellar drift is a natural occurrence where stars slowly move. Due to this phenomenon, every several thousand years the Stargate network shuts down temporarily and starts a Correlative update system to counteract it. (SG1: "Children of the Gods", "Avenger 2.0")


The glyphs themselves do not change, but according to the first/second episode in SG1, the addresses change over thousands of years.

Since Abydos and Earth are close neighbors in the stargate system, that's the only address that works from the Earth gate at first.

Therfore, when SG1 finds the cartouche with gate addresses, and SG1 finds that they don't actually work from the Earth gate, Carter figures out the issue with stellar drift and ends up running a translation program to translate the 5,000 year old addresses into their current equivalents.

They later find out this was one of the drawbacks to not having a DHD for the Earth gate. It's the DHD that runs the Correlative update to adjust for stellar drift.

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    Minor note. In the movie, Abydos and Earth are not close neighbors. Abydos was located "on the far side of the known universe". Their positions relative to each other were still mostly the same, which is why dialing Abydos worked. That was changed for the tv series where the Stargate system became essentially Milky Way based, rather than universe based.
    – BBlake
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 13:12
  • 2
    There is a discrepancy between the original movie and the TV series. In the move, Abydos is located in the Kaliam galaxy, "on the other side of the... known universe" according to Catherine Langford, which was retconned by the TV show. In the TV show, it's the closest planet to Earth in the stargate network.
    – Force Flow
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 15:35

Moreover, constellations are the shape of various stars AS SEEN FROM EARTH, so when saw from whatever other planet, the gliph describing the constellation should be totally different...

So :

  • all stargates should have different glyphs for the same constellations

  • or the glyphs represent the constellations as seen from one particular planet (the ancient one?) and so daniel shouldn't have been able to recognise them...

  • It's the second one. It turns out Earth was the main base of the ancients in the Milky Way.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 13:33

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