I started watching Stargate SG1 and I noticed something odd:
The Stargate starts spinning, they say incoming wormhole and right away after this they receive the identification code from SG1 to open the iris.

How can this code be received before the connection is created?

I looked it up, it at least happened in S01E08 Cold Lazarus. In the middle of the episode there is an offworld-activation, everyone is running into the control room and they have this conversation while the chevrons are still encoding:

  • Sam: "Where's the iris?"
  • Hammond: "Someone used a remote."
  • Daniel: "But who? We're all here."
  • Hammond: "Well, whoever it is has our codes."

And only during the last sentence you hear and see the wormhole opening. So clearly the signal was sent before the wormhole was opened.

Another occurance is right in the beginning of S02E08. You hear the Stargate activating, and there's this conversation:

  • Woman: "Unscheduled incoming traveler."
  • Hammond: "There's no one scheduled to return. Did you get an iris code?"
  • Woman: "Yes Sir, we did. From SG-1."

Right after this you hear the wormhole opening.

  • Can you confirm which episode you're talking about.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:44
  • I'd have to check again, but I'm not further than S02E10 and it happened a few times already. The Stargate is still spinning, the vortex was not there yet and they got the code already. Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:45
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    possible duplicate of How Do Stargates Communicate Before they Open a Wormhole? Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:46
  • 1
    @TravisChristian I'm not asking how the Stargates communicate, but how SG1 communicates with the command center before a wormhole is opened. They always send this code to open the iris. Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:47
  • @StargateFan942 - To the best of my knowledge, the wormhole is always open/connected before they receive the IDC code from the GDO; stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Garage_Door_Opener
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


The short answer is that these are foley/editing errors. Both are mentioned on the Stargate Wiki (under the goofs section). There is no in- or out-of universe explanation offered by the writers for these kinds of mistakes other than that these things do occasionally creep into a sci-fi series. If they ever remaster these episodes for future release, they'll probably be corrected.



When these sorts of things happen, it's best just to remember the MSt3K Mantra;

It's just a show; I should really just relax. (la la la).

Ultimately you need to recognise that the story is being told by a small production team that (due to the limitations of the medium) has to work quickly, with limited budget and tight deadlines.

  • @StargateFan942 - You might also want to ask why you can hear someone's cellphone ringing on Chulak :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 19:18
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    That's just the low naquadah alert one some poor Jaffa's staff weapon. Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 20:47
  • @TravisChristian Those come with sound?? I always assumed they vibrate in that case, which is why Jaffa are only slightly more proficient then Imperial Stormtroopers when trying to hit someone.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 13:06

Without written evidence to back this up, all we have is how the Stargates react to dialing. Dialing initiated from one gate powers the receiving gate, and causes it to start spinning, even before the worm hole is initiated. This indicates there is communication between the gates. From SGA and SGU, we know there is subspace communication, but we also know that the dialing gate provides the power to both gates.

That suggest that the kawoosh that you call the wormhole opening is just relative to our and the characters point of view. We know the event horizon of the stargate isn't really the event horizon of the worm hole, as the stargate has a digitizing buffer, so you can stick your hand in, and pull it back out, without a problem. So this all implies that the worm hole formed by the kawoosh is the portal for physical matter, not energy, to be able to get through. Before that is formed, there is still an active worm hole created that allows radio signals/energy to get through.

Remember, different types of matter/energy react differently though the worm hole. Matter is only allowed one way, while radio signals are bi-directional.

  • +1 for physical matter. I was thinking the same thing, that radio can already get through, while it takes a bit to initialize for matter passage
    – CDspace
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 16:48
  • @CDspace exactly. Or that the pre-kawoosh wormhole is unstable for large amounts of data that an entire body of atoms and positions would require, but is fine enough for a couple hundred bits of digits+encryption, especially if the signal is repeated.
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 1:36
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    Matter passage involves atoms, which have many particles. Radio or the mentioned particle accelerator beam, is only waves (depending on the energy of the accelerator). So waves can make it through easily, while it takes longer for the device to figure out how to deconstruct matter, and reconstruct it at the other end. So the radio makes it though on connection (think skype, "connection made") then it takes a while to initialise the video (skype video, or matter to matter) connection, thus the 'kawoosh' on matter connection.
    – CDspace
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 6:16
  • i guess I just said what you did, but in more words
    – CDspace
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 6:16
  • So then why bother initiating the wormhole or even dialing completely when you know in advance nothing besides radio will be passing through? Seems like a huge waste of power. Also, we've seen the Chevrons of offworld gates light up incrementally and way more slowly than the 3.2 seconds it takes for something to traverse a wormhole. How can a single gate know it's being dialed? Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 7:09

The gates establish a wormhole first, then simulate event horizons and beam travelers through the wormhole as energy so they do not spontaneously decompress in the vacuum of the wormhole. Radio signals are already energy and therefore do not require the simulated event horizons to travel through an active wormhole.

In either the season finale of season 1 or the season premier of season 2, or maybe both, we see a Goa'uld framastazzle (Long range visual communication device) interface with a stargate without simulating an event horizon. This demonstrates the stargates are capable of establishing a wormhole without simulating the event horizon, and frankly, I'm surprised Sam Carter never thought to use stargates in this manor to covertly send radio signals off world, or back to Earth. For instance, the original gas powered 6 wheel drive MALP would probably produce enough power to send messages through the gate. I'm actually surprised they never thought to install a portable DHD into a MALP, too.

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