A Stargate is a device which can create a wormhole, allowing practical, and reliable travel between two distant points in space.
The most common use of the Stargate, is for the travel of personnel between planets that can sustain human life. The Stargates create a system known as the Stargate Network, that allows a traveler to input their destination into a device known as a DHD like a caller would input a phone number into a telephone. After entering their address, a wormhole forms inside the Stargate, and travelers can step through, appearing instantly on another world.
The Stargate network was created by an Ancient species known as the Asurans tens of thousands of years ago, and seeded onto planets that could support life. Since then, the gate network has been used by many peoples and species to travel between planets. The most notorious users of the network are the Goa'uld, a race of parasites which take over human bodies and enslave civilizations.
Different galaxies have different Stargate Networks. The oldest known Stargate Network is in the Milky Way. There is a newer Stargate Network in the Pegasus Galaxy that is used by the human team based on in Atlantis.
A planet can only have one active Stargate at any one time, and the Asurans only placed one on each planet. If a Stargate is moved to a planet that already contains a Stargate (via a faster than light starship) the existing gate will be disrupted and travelers to that planet could come out of either gate.
More recently, an ancient Stargate was found on Earth that had been buried during an uprising against the Goa'uld during the days of ancient Egypt. The Earth Stargate is now based in Stargate Command under NORAD in Cheyenne Mountain, and is used by personnel to travel from planet to planet finding technology and Allies to defend Earth.
Earth was one of the only planets with two Stargates. The ancient Egyption gate was actually the newer of the two. There was once a gate used by the Asurans that was lost over time and eventually buried beneath the ice of Antarctica due to the movement of the continents. Earths newer gate was brought there by the Goa'uld to aid in the enslavement of Earth.
The Stargate has many different names to different cultures and people including:
- Astria Porta (by the Ancients who made them)
- Chappa'ai (by the Goa'uld and Jaffa)
- Portals (by many inhabitants of the Pegasus Galaxy)
- Ring of the Gods
- Great Ring of Abydon
- Circle of Standing Water
- Stone Ring
- Ring of the Ancestors
- Wraith Well
- Circle of Darkness
- The Old Orifice (a term of endearment at Stargate Command)