When they saw Michael going into the Stargate, Ronon immediately ran and tried to jump in the Stargate but the Stargate just powered off.

This is strange because:

1) Stargates should not close on its own when there is some one near it (stated in some of the "How stargate closes" threads here - [1]

2) If the Stargate powers down prematurely, wouldn't Tayla and Michael be stored in the Stargate buffer like what happened to Teal'c on (Stargate SG-1 "48 Hours" Season 5 Episode 14)?

  • 1
    On at least 2, Teal'c was in the receiving Stargate, not the transmitting one
    – Izkata
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 12:08
  • 2
    I don't think this is explained but the gate can be shut down by losing power, so it's possible that Michael only provided the gate enough power to transport 2 people.
    – NominSim
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:03
  • he did that where?
    – Sid
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 13:34
  • "Stargates should not close on its own when there is some one near it" I've never seen any indication of that within the shows. Having your arm dangled through the puddle is not at all the same as running towards it. Nothing in the linked thread suggests otherwise. Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:13

4 Answers 4


Teal'c was only stored in the Stargate because the Stargate his data-stream was originating from was destroyed, not merely shut down. That was not the case in Michael. As Izkata stated above, Teal'c's profile was also stored in the receiving Stargate, not the transmitting one. That answers question 2.

Question 1 is more difficult. We all know the real reason is that the scriptwriter thought it would be hilarious to see Jason Momoa dive through an unopened Stargate. They were right, it was hilarious. I think NominSim's comment above is correct in theory, but I don't actually think Michael did that in the episode.

Previous episodes (of SG-1 in particular) have shown Stargates close despite having both objects and people reasonably close by. The episode where SG-1 is sent to the prison-planet Hadante (sp?) springs to mind. I think that the Stargate scans to see if there is anyone close-by before shutting down. But the Stargate has clearly shut down with bullets and other objects flying at it at high velocities, and on at least one occasion Colonel O'Neill literally dived through the Stargate a fraction of a second before it shut down.

I believe that the Stargate only notices objects which are "close-by" within a very short distance, possibly under a metre. So when the 'gate scanned for anyone close-by, Ronon, who was sprinting at the 'gate as fast as he could, was actually too far away for the 'gate to pick up on its scan. The 'gates may even have been designed this way by the Ancients keeping the possibility of pursuits or firefights in mind, or it may simply be an accident of the Stargate design.

  • 1
    "We know that the Stargate scans to see if there is anyone close-by before shutting down." I've never seen any indication of this within the shows. Can you expand on where you got this from? Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:15
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit: Observation. Can't give any specifics right now, because I haven't just completed an SG-1 marathon, which was the case when I originally answered this question. Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 0:32
  • I can think of literally zero cases ... and I rewatch SG-1 rather frequently! :) Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 0:47
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit: We know it scans because it doesn't shut down when someone is standing in front of it. It shuts down when it's power is cut, or if people aren't nearby. Therefore, it somehow knows that there is someone standing there. "Scanning" may not be the best word, but it's the best I could think of at the time. Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 0:49
  • 2
    "it doesn't shut down when someone is standing in front of it" I dispute that. I'm not sure we've ever seen it shown persuasively either way but I certainly don't think we've see it persuasively demonstrated that it does. I'd never heard of the nearby thing until reading this page! What about Jack in Shades of Grey? He's literally right next to the gate (couldn't be any closer) and it shuts down as soon as he takes his hand out of the puddle. If the gate took proximity into account, why would Jack then (and Eli in Light) need to risk body parts by shoving them into the puddle? Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 0:53


  • The Only thing we know for sure is that, assuming no atypical outside interference, a Stargate will only remain open for the maximum 38 minutes if you are sending something through it, such as a radio signal.
  • There is nothing that has officially stated there is a sensor near a Stargate that detects if someone is near it or not.
  • The only reason that gates stay open and or close as they do is for dramatic effect in the show.
  • It is possible the gate was in "shut down mode" before Michael ran through and that there was no way to "stop" the gate from its "time out."

So first, I think it is important to point out the obvious fact that a Stargate can only remain open for the full 38 minutes when something is going through it like a radio signal or incomplete matter stream (Jack holding the gate open during the episode where the NID are stealing stuff). This of course is dependent upon not having a black hole or something else affecting the normal function.

Second, there has never been anything official that said a gate has a motion sensor to nearby objects. And if there were I have a feeling there would have been defensive measures in place to keep a connection from occurring if something is in the "kwoosh" on the other side to keep it from being destroyed.

The only thing we know for sure is that a gate has protocols in place that it can extrapolate if something is actually trying to get through based on the pressure it exerts; from the underwater gate episode. (What is interesting about that however is that if dirt and rock can keep a connection from forming with a buried gate, why does water not do the same thing?)

Without going through and timing each gate occurrence in every single episode for how long it stays open without anything passing through it we do not have information on how long a gate will "wait" for something to happen. That has never been identified.

It is possible that the reason Ronan did not make it through is that there is a sort of "shut down mode" in the protocols. Let's say that a gate has such a mode and nothing happened so it enacted the shut down, which takes a few seconds to occur, and in between Michael goes through. Hence the gate was in shut down as he went through and Ronan did not make it...

But that is making assumptions based on information we do not know.


For #2, Teal'c was only stored in the gate because the Earth gate didn't have a DHD. Since all the gates in Pegasus have DHDs storing in the gate wouldn't happen if the gate lost power.


Stargates were designed by the Ancients with an advanced artificial intelligence to determine when and if they should shut down.

In addition to sensing and responding to energy being directed at the gate for communication or transport, as well as nearby travellers, the gates are imbued with an exquisite sense of dramatic and comedic timing, as well some understanding of irony.

Why the Ancients built them with these capabilities is not entirely clear.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.