According to the Stargate Wiki the point of origin symbol for the Beta Gate on earth is a circle with a horizontal line under it enter image description here

It states that this is the true canon symbol and that due to production reusing the same prop, it is mistakenly the pyramid and sun symbol used for earth throughout the series and even in the logo.

However, the Beta Gate is the one left on earth by the Ancients whereas the Alpha Gate is the one brought to earth by Ra. But throughout the universe the symbol for Earth is in fact the point of origin glyph on the Alpha Gate.

So here is where I am confused, the nine chevron address is a combination gate address rather than a location address like all other gate addresses. And the Point of Origin has to be the Earth glyph (the sun and pyramid glyph) which is what we see used in SGU : "Air, Part 1" to dial the Destiny.

However the Destiny program was written by the Ancients, and when Destiny was launched the Point of Origin glyph for Earth would have been the circle with a horizontal line under it if that is truly the canon glyph for the Beta Gate.

So how does the sun and pyramid glyph of the Alpha Gate work in the Destiny address, when that is not in fact the ancient glyph for Earth's point of origin?


2 Answers 2


This answer will only cover the gates in the Milky Way as Pegasus and Destiny Gates are different. Also, there is contradiction in the glyphs as later seasons presented them as the ancient language not reference constellations. I am doing my best to work around that.

Simple answer, they are using Earth's dialing program and interface with at that point is fuller featured then the DHD system. However they never got arround to updating the representations of the glyphs to match those on the gate at Icarus Base. Not surprising since they never updated the software when they switched to the Antartic gate and it's Antarctic PoO. So we can assume that on Earth Dialer software the PoO is always the old Egypt gate's 39th symbol.

Also, if you watch the early SGC dialing interfaces they are filming the symbols being locked in the chevrons. You can assume that they are using some mechanical method to turn the inner ring to match glyphs to chevrons. However DHD's don't use a mechanical method. They instruct the gate to dial the glyphs and dials them on it's own. By the time of Icarus Base their dialing software can directly interface with the gate and have it dial on it's own without assistance. So we can assume that the software does a shown symbol to gate instruction mapping.

Myself, I vote for the Dialing Software contractors were shortsighted enough that they didn't think to include a way to update the glyph representations. No one wanted to pay to rebuild the software so they kludged in a symbol translator. And by the time of Icarus Base they could directly talk to the gates no longer needing to mechanically dial them and verify what symbol locked in what chevron and if they standardized on a single set of symbols they wouldn't have to retrain the staff for every world they are stationed on or update the interface.

But if that's not good enough here is the:

Long and more speculative answer. It is never established that all the source glyphs are unique. Each gate has 39 glyphs, 38 are reference points and the 39th is the source glyph for that gate. That gives us 1,987,690,320 possible source gates. Unfortunatley the show does not give us an exact count of gates but some rough math over at Is there any indicator as to how many planets have Stargates? estimates between 20,000 to 200,000 depending on the person doing the math. Even at just just 20,000 gates in the milky way that is a lot of unique glyphs, 200,000 or more, right out.

So if there are too many worlds to each have a unique PoO glyphs we have a few options:

  1. The 39th symbol could be a model number, depending on when the gate was created by the Ancients they get a different symbol. Unlikely but possible.
  2. The symbols are malleable and Ra and the Goa'uld changed the PoO symbol to meet their own needs. Perhaps the Ancients PoO was Antarctic PoO and on Goa'uld worlds they changed it to suit their own purposes.
  3. All 39 symbols are PoO and you use the closest one to your gate as PoO. This would require a few things, the 38 glyphs would have to be malleable as a part of the DHD Correlative Update System. This way when the gates are moved or the constellations change the representation can also change. In this case the PoO is the closest reference point to the world the gate was installed on. 39 doesn't auto-update because the Ancients never foresaw a reason to move a gate to a different world. If they needed a gate on a world they would just build one for it. This would indicate Ra took the Egypt gate from a world in vicinity of the Icarus gate if they truly shared PoO symbols.

It's a quirk of the computer monitoring program that it registers the missing glyph as the Earth symbol.

As you can see from the images below, the unique symbol for the Destiny is in fact the Orion symbol enter image description here rather than the Earth Symbol enter image description here which doesn't appear on the DHD at all.

Presumably this is supposed to be an indication of the rough-and-ready nature of the Destiny project. They're using the same dialling program to monitor the gate as they use on Earth rather than having designed one from scratch.

I think it's also reasonable to assume that the glyphs act like keyboard keys which means the unique PoO key on each gate just registers on the computer as "Key 39" and that they haven't had the time to change the graphics yet.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    Actually I don't think that's true. The Orion symbol is used during the first attempt to dial the ninth chevron address. When they dial the second time, the time when it works you don't see the symbols on the actual DHD, only the DHD program on the device. And the program from earth does not monitor the gate, it acts as the DHD. As with most ancient technology in the show there is usually a earth interface developed so that everything is in English. So not sure what the actual DHD is for, but they don't use that to select the glyph for dialing.
    – Helios
    Aug 11, 2014 at 6:10
  • @Helios - They're still using the DHD as the dialler, just not pressing the buttons manually.
    – Valorum
    Aug 11, 2014 at 6:11
  • So again I ask how your sure of that? In the show you on,y see the actual DHD during the first dialing sequence when it fails. So they would have been using the Orion glyph as the PoO key. You state that your understanding works that the PoO registers at key 39. That DHD does not have the earth symbol on it, and so how do they dial with the earth symbol if the are using the actual DHD to do the dialing? They would have to reprogram the DHD, and that would take a little longer than the few second Rush sits down before he starts dialing.
    – Helios
    Aug 14, 2014 at 2:20
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    And if the PoO key simply registered as key 39 and was not actually a unique identifier then the dialing sequence would have worked the first time. For the earth glyph to be used in the dialing they would have had to override the actual DHD.
    – Helios
    Aug 14, 2014 at 2:21
  • @Helios - tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BellisariosMaxim. I've answered it to my own satisfaction. If you're going to nitpick, there's always the maxim
    – Valorum
    Aug 14, 2014 at 5:21

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