Situation: The Goa'uld exile you (an SG team member) off-world on a planet with a Stargate.

Problem: You don't know the Point of Origin but you do, of course know the first six glyphs for Earth.

  • How many tries do you get in order to dial Earth?

    • Do you need to try all 39 of the other glyphs on the Stargate if you don't know the Point of Origin?

For reference, here are some pictures of gate addresses.

symbol wheel

  • yep assume the six glyphs are in correct order, assume you're an sg team member and you memorized the correct six glyphs order for earth.
    – tls
    Nov 25, 2014 at 9:41
  • 2
    Why the VTCs as 'off topic' (scientific solution/explanation) ? This is clearly being asked within the context of a specific work of sci-fi which is permitted.
    – Stan
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:21
  • Your edit introduces a whole new question ("What does an SG team do if they can't access the Earth gate?"). That should be posted as a new question, not an edit.
    – Valorum
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:17
  • @Richard thanks will post as new question.
    – tls
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:24
  • @tls - If you click the edit button, you'll be able to see the original text that you added.
    – Valorum
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


IIRC the point of orgin is a unique symbol, so you just use the unique symbol on the DHD for the point of origin.

if you're​ talking a math question, then you have 6 glyphs that you know the order of, leaving 33 symbols to try so 33 attempts at dialing.

  • it's what i also remember, what i can't recall is whether the order of first six glyphs remain constant. say dialing abydos from earth, you will also use the same first six when dialing abydos from chulak.
    – tls
    Nov 25, 2014 at 9:46
  • 1
    technically they would have to its an address after all
    – revenant
    Nov 25, 2014 at 9:48
  • The glyphs for Earth always remain in the same order.
    – Valorum
    Nov 25, 2014 at 10:11

This precise situation occurred in the SG-1 episode "Prisoners". In that particular case the team are exiled to a world with no DHD. The lack of a ready power-source and any way to dial the gate is the reason they can't simply leave until they work out how to generate some energy and dial the gate by turning the ring by hand.

To answer your specific questions:

  • You can dial the gate as many times as you like. Theoretically you'd only need 33 attempts to find the unique point-of-origin but in reality, the SG-1 team would immediately recognise the unique symbol. It only takes them one go.
  • 6
    @tls: No -- in the original movie Daniel initially did not know the six symbols for Earth. (The glyphs he deciphered back on Earth were those of Abydos.)
    – DevSolar
    Nov 25, 2014 at 10:52
  • 1
    @tls: Note that your question was working from false assumptions. You mentioned the Goa'uld and the SG teams -- making the answers refer to the TV series canon. In the series, there is only one unique symbol on each stargate, with the remaining glyphs being "global" among all stargates. In the movie, all glyphs on the two stargates are unique -- just figuring out the one glyph that differed wouldn't have worked in the movie. (Pet peeve: If 39 glyphs are "global", using star constellations as-seen-from-earth, an eight symbol to dial somewhere in the Pegasus galaxy doesn't make any sense.)
    – DevSolar
    Nov 25, 2014 at 11:53
  • 1
    @Izkata: But how can six star constellations from our galaxy, as seen from earth, plus the symbol for earth itself, plus another star constellation from our galaxy, reference a point in another galaxy? Answer: They can, because we needed it for the story. ;-) (The whole concept, as depicted in the movie, also implies that stargate technology is earth-based, i.e. invented by Ra, which also doesn't make sense in the TV series' universe.) Don't argue, or I drag in the black hole thingummy to show how they played fast and lose with logic / physics whenever it served the plot. ;-)
    – DevSolar
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:55
  • 2
    @DevSolar: within the movie, a lot of things make no sense. E.g. why you have to tell the Stargate where you are coming from. Or, well, the entire concept of using constellations to navigate in space. After all, a constellation is not a point in space like Daniel has drawn on the board. It consists of stars which appear close to each other only when looking at them from earth. The distance between them might be even much bigger than their smallest distance from earth. So the TV series treating the symbols more like phone numbers makes much more sense.
    – Holger
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:03
  • 1
    Also, when you've only ever seen two gates, it's pretty much impossible to even know that some of the symbols are common and one is unique.
    – Jasmine
    Nov 25, 2014 at 22:32

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