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We all know that gates within close proximity to one another are unable to dial one another (SG-1; Solitudes), and that only one may be active within a certain volume of space (since it gains priority over other gates)(SG-1; Watergate)(ATL; Enemy at the Gate).

So the question then begs itself:

Assuming that two stargates are of the same model (i.e. both are Milky Way, Pegasus, Destiny, etc.), and assuming typical usage (i.e. transport of matter and energy), what would be the minimum distance required for one to be able to dial, connect, and establish a wormhole with the other?

NOTE: This question considers typical usage only. As @Eureka had mentioned in the comments, when atypical usage is considered, the minimum distance is technically zero (since the same gate is connected to but at different times). (This begs another question, what happens if the gate is active during the time your connecting to it through a solar flare?)

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    Since the same gate can be used as entry and exit point, thanks to solar flares and time travel, is 0 meter a valid answer? ;)
    – Eureka
    Aug 16, 2013 at 20:11
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    @Eureka I'd go for i, since the first time that happened there was no gate on the destination end
    – Izkata
    Aug 16, 2013 at 23:28
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    Oh lol! Technically yes, but my question aims at typical usage. Aug 17, 2013 at 3:27
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    I don't think there's a canon answer to this question, but I've always assumed the answer is 38 light-minutes (i.e., the amount of time such that if you're standing at the source gate, you won't see the destination gate open until your gate closes).
    – Micah
    Aug 17, 2013 at 3:38
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    For the record, a wormhole that travels to two positions in time is not zero meters. The distance is between the two points in space-time, where the Earth was when it opened and where the Earth is when it loops back upon itself. There is still distance involved. It is apparently zero, since the point of origin is the same but relativistically different. Aug 17, 2013 at 18:44

3 Answers 3


"Solitudes" suggests that the proximity effect is the result of the two gates having the same coordinates.

JACKSON: What happens when you dial your own phone number?

HAMMOND: You get a busy signal.

JACKSON: Exactly. What else could cause a vibration like that except if they were trying to dial home? They couldn't get home. I mean, even if the seventh symbol looked different, the co-ordinates of the two gates would still be exactly the same.

If so, we can estimate its extent by dividing the total size of the gate network by the number of possible coordinates.

The gate network seems to span the entire Milky Way; the volume of the Milky Way is roughly 10^60 cubic meters. There are 39 symbols on a Milky Way gate, but one of them is the point of origin, so there are 38^6 possible six-symbol addresses. Thus each of them should encompass about 10^60/38^6 cubic meters, which works out to a cube about 7 light-years across.

This would probably mean the gate on Earth would prevent gating to several nearby stars (depending on exactly where the coordinate boundaries are). That seems a little weird, but since the Stargate-verse steadfastly avoids actually naming any of the stars where other gates are, I don't think it can actually be ruled out.

On the other hand, I think the largest distance we ever actually see the effect span — in "Exodus" — is well under an AU.

In any case, the Stargate writers are pretty bad at math (e.g., in "Tangent" they put Apophis's homeworld somewhere in the Oort cloud), so there's unlikely to be a precise and consistent answer to this question.

  • Wouldn't it make more sense for the volume of the region designated as same coordinates a sphere? Then again, considering Stargates are location based rather than device based, space divided into cubes would make sense. This raises the question of how the coordinates for a particular region are actually determined. Aug 18, 2013 at 6:11
  • @gate_engineer: The actual shape doesn't affect the distance by all that much, and this is all pretty handwavy anyway. I did the math for a cube because it was a little easier, and because cubes actually fill space (if everywhere in the galaxy has coordinates, the coordinate regions can't all be spheres...)
    – Micah
    Aug 18, 2013 at 13:40
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    +1 for writers being bad at math. That should be the sci-fi writer mantra. Along with "we don't know how it would work technically so we'll make something up to explain it all".
    – BBlake
    Aug 20, 2013 at 12:25
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    I thought it was more to do with there only being allowed one active gate in a gravity well, rather than anything to do with distance? Therefore, could there not be gate travel between neighbouring planets, or is the term "gravity well" in this instance defined as the gravity of the parent star rather than the planet the gate is on? Jun 23, 2015 at 14:36
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    @maguirenumber6: To the best of my recollection, there's nothing that rules that theory out, but nothing that specifically implies it, either. But it's been a while since I watched the show. If you can find a quote that implies that that's what's happening, you should post it as an alternate answer.
    – Micah
    Jun 23, 2015 at 14:59

They never actually say what the minimum distance is, but in the SG-1 episode “Maternal Instinct” (3x20), they establish that each of the (habitable) planets in the Lok’na Core has its own stargate, with only one - Kheb - being left off the Abydos cartouche (presumably to keep Jaffa from knowing about it).

CARTER We basically have two reference maps for Stargate addresses. Yellow represents the cartouche that the Goa'uld left on Abydos, and the addresses from the Ancients' original map of the Stargate is in red. (To Bra'tac) You don't recognise this address here?


DANIEL If the legend is true, the Goa'uld never would have included Kheb on their cartouche.

CARTER Well this address is the only planet in the system that the Goa'uld didn't include on their map.

Now, it is possible that they used the wrong term, but given that in the Atlantis episode “Enemy at the Gate” (5x20), Colonel Sheppard was able to gate into the SGC even while the Wraith Superhive was orbiting the moon, I’d say the minimum distance between gates would seem to be less than 238,900 mi.

DAVIS It's the hive ship. It dropped out of hyperspace and established orbit around the moon just before you arrived.

  • This is a very nice first answer, however, your actual answer of 238,900 miles is unsupported. Could you edit in some evidence for this? I.e. where did this figure come from?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 24, 2019 at 13:20
  • It’s the distance from the moon to the earth- don’t be pedantic Sep 24, 2019 at 13:40
  • @Celestialgranturismo Instead of commenting and being defiant, you could have used that very same effort to put the information into the answer. Furthermore, asking you to include references is not pedantic, supportable statements are part of how StackExchange as a whole works. You've got a good answer here, but your attitude needs work.
    – T.J.L.
    Sep 24, 2019 at 14:19
  • @T.J.L. I think you're confusing who is commenting with who is writing the answer.
    – Ellesedil
    Sep 24, 2019 at 19:11
  • @Ellesedil Yup, you're right. The point is still valid. Somebody is attributing valid SE advice as pedantic, somebody could have edited the information in, and somebody's attitude needs work. Only the person who has the good answer was misattributed, so I take back and redirect the encouraging bit.
    – T.J.L.
    Sep 25, 2019 at 12:23

Ascension (5x03), Orlin builds a gate in Sams basement and dials the SGC.

Distance would be lets say under a 1hr commute, so < 40 miles.

  • 2
    He doesn't dial the SGC, he dials Velona, the world he ruined.
    – Valorum
    Nov 30, 2016 at 15:58

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