I'd be surprised if this hasn't been asked before, but I couldn't find it. In the awesome TV show Stargate: SG-1, I've noticed that how one exits the Stargate is inconsistent. Several times we witness someone - usually the SG-1 team - walk through the gate normally on the Earth side, but then come tumbling out on the exit side.

In-universe, it's been stated that an object in motion maintains its velocity and momentum when traveling through the gate, so tumbling out of the game makes sense when you originally jump or leap into it (as the team often does when in danger). However, if you walk in one side, you should come walking out the other side - as is shown more than half the time.

I originally thought maybe they tumbled out the exit gate due to the ramp at SGC being higher on the event horizon then the platform on the exit gate, but we've also seen the opposite - SG1 (or someone) walks or runs through the off-world gate and comes tumbling out on the Earth side.

Note that the spin-off series - Stargate: Atlantis - appears to be far more consistent regarding how one enters and exits the gate.

Is this inconsistency in SG-1 merely used for dramatic effect, or is it explained in-universe?

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    from my understanding typically, the stumbling is due to poor gate connections, for example in the first few episodes i believe they come through and are covered in frost a couple times, because they hadn't finished the calculations to compensate for the spacial drift, which using a normal DHD would have been handled automaticly.
    – Himarm
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 13:55
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    Notice that they also quietly did away with the "molecular compression" (which causes the frost Himarm noted above), and that gate travel made Daniel's allergies flare up. My money is on Early Installment Weirdness Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 14:04
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    Daniel's allergies were toned down after his sarcophagus exposure, IIRC. which would be only consistent.
    – ths
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 15:20
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    @ths he still needed glasses after the exposure wore off, his allergies should have flared up again. but they were trying to move away from bookish nerd to his Indiana Jones status
    – user16696
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 15:45
  • @jason the allergy issue probably had to do with the new locations, not the gate it self, no? Being sent to all those Canadian woods would flair anyone's allergies up.
    – user16696
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


Most quirks of the SGC Stargate can be attributed to two things.

  1. Earth knowledge of how the Gate works is incomplete and immature.

  2. Earth technology and implementation of the Gate normal dialing computer.

We learn plenty of times that the SGC bypasses many of the safety and routine protocols that the DHD has, ignoring many of the feedback codes of the Gate, and often force the connection even when they shouldn't.

Atlantis on the other hand has a better understanding of the gate, has access to a more advance gate, and use the existing gate control system of the city ship.

Reason 3 is equal parts dramatic effect, growing pains of production and lore, and budget.

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    I'm up to season five with no explanation, so I have a feeling there is no in-universe reason. Accepted!
    – Omegacron
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 18:10

Occasionally, it's something weird with the gates.

The general cause is explained, offhandedly, in season five, episode five.

After an unexpected rough exit, Carter mentions that "The margin of error in calculating planetary shift used to cause the rough ride but we fixed it."

See the episode's page on the wikia for more of the dialogue.

(Before I went looking, I actually remembered that explanation coming from a different episode, so it may have been explained more than once)

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