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In SG1 Children of Gods (episode 1.01/02), Samantha Carter concludes that, without accounting for stellar drift using a map such as the Abydos Cartouche, the only planet reachable by Stargate is Abydos because it is in some sense the most local relative to Earth.

In 1945, Paul Langford, Ernest Littlefield and their team successfully dialled Heliopolis, (SG1 The Torment of Tantalus, episode 1.11) implying that Heliopolis, too, is local enough for the Earth gate to reach it without adjustments in the 20th century.

Why then was Heliopolis not found when SGC were trying to find alternative destinations to Abydos in the aftermath of Stargate (the film)?

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Because besides Abydos, they would have to dial randomly to find other gates, and they didn't find any other gates via that method. As of the first episode, Carter was stating that with the knowledge that they only had one good Stargate address that worked (i.e. Abydos). At the end of that first episode (well, the 2-parter), they had the cartouche addresses, which provided many more valid addresses.

It wasn't until they dialed Heliopolis that they knew there was a Stargate on that planet, meaning at that point they knew that Abydos and Heliopolis were both close enough to Earth to contradict Carter's earlier statement.

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AFAIK the movie states that Abydos was the only planet they were able to get to, because of celestial drift. the first 2 episodes of stargate confirm that, and then show that with the list of addresses on abydos and taking into account the drift they could then reach other worlds. Later they reach heliopolis which we had already gone to. however all information regarding that initial gate travel had been wiped/kept secret. Therefor it doesn't actually contradict anything else in series, because since they were dialing randomly, they just hadn't gotten to the heliopolis combo yet. So while it was infact close enough to reach, since after thousands of other tries and only being able to reach abydos it appeared to them that abydos was the only reachable gate.

  • For the record, there are 39 glyphs on a Milky Way stargate. One is the point of origin symbol, so if we assume the other six must be unique there are almost 2 billion possible gate addresses. That they found Abydos is astonishing, that they found Heliopolis (Remember how slowly they were turning that gate) is a miracle – Jason Baker Dec 11 '14 at 3:00
  • A long-after-the-point comment, but luck had nothing to do with discovering Abydos' address. They had the whole thing carved in stone, though somehow overlooking that a symbol below the 6 symbol combination also matched a symbol on the ring. – Michael Richardson Jan 24 '18 at 19:24

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