General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

In Star Trek, how do you read "stardates"?

Asked by AstroChuck (37439points) May 23rd, 2009

As a sci-fi nerd and lover of Star Trek I feel a bit embarrassed to ask this question, but I know somebody can explain this to me.
Live long and prosper.

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14 Answers

MrItty's avatar

You don’t. They’re random, and no “official” explanation has ever been given. They have no correspondence to the Gregorian calendar.

In the original series, stardates were 4 digit numbers, that incremented fairly randomly as the three seasons went on.

In TNG, they made them five digits, with the first digit being 4 (supposedly because they were in the 24th century), and the second digit equal to the season number. So 1000 stardate units equaled one year in TNG-time.

When DS9 started in the middle of TNG‘s run, it used the TNG-numbering system, so the first season of DS9 had 46 as the first two numbers. When they got to 49 it rolled over to 50, even though it obviously wasn’t the 25th century yet.

Voyager continued this, picking up in the middle of DS9’s run.

Enterprise used the Gregorian Calendar rather than stardates for all log entries.

YARNLADY's avatar

My good friend, David Trimble (Trimboli) can tell you, or wikipedia has an excellent article on it.

DarkScribe's avatar

I’d like a date with Counselor Troy (if I wasn’t married.)

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

Mritty has it right… In the new movie I believe they have redone it again to make it more understandable.

MrItty's avatar

@westy81585 is correct. I noticed that when I watched the movie, with old-Spock saying that he came from a point in the future that was a 4-digit stardate, even though old-Spock should have been using the TNG-era 5-digit stardates, if he was really from the “original” universe.

(Of course, you could make the argument that the Stardate calendar changed somewhere between the TOS and TNG eras, and old-Spock was using the TOS-era calendar to make it easier for young-Kirk to understand when he was from).

loser's avatar

No clue… but live long and prosper my friend!

MacBean's avatar

Chuckie, you need never embarrass yourself over a Star Trek question again. Check Memory Alpha first, and if there is an answer, it will probably be there.

oratio's avatar

@MacBean That’s a good link, but why refer people to plough through wiki’s and google around instead of answering questions. Feedback is gold, and I don’t think Fluther should be all about how people feel about their cats.

MacBean's avatar

@oratio: I don’t know about anyone else, but I love meandering through wikis. It’s a great time-waster and you can learn some interesting trivia along the way.

oratio's avatar

@MacBean You are right about that. Very true. And combined with my internet addiction it can be a black hole.

YARNLADY's avatar

@oratio some of the information on the other sites is copyrighted, and most of the time the original writer can be more clear than I can. I am not a fan of cut and paste answers, and a reference to an informative site is much better than ‘paraphrasing’ the answers.

Stanley's avatar

A Stardate is a five-digit number followed by a decimal point and one more digit. Example: “46254.7”. The first two digits of the Stardate are “46.” the 4 stands for the 24th century, the 6 indicates the sixth season. The following three digits will progress consecutively during the course of the season from 000 to 999. The digit following the decimal point counts tenths of a day. Stardate 45254.4, therefore, represents the noon hour on the 254th “day” of the fifth season. Becasue Stardates in the 24th Century are based on a cmplex mathematical formula, a precise correlation to Earth-based dating systems is not possible.”

From the Star Trek, the Next Generation Writers/Director’s guide.

pizzaman's avatar

Well, first of all, to explane, in the new movie the star dates are 2258.42 (young Spock) and 2387 (old Sopck).
Here is how to read them:

1) for 2258.42, 2258 is the year and .42 means that they are .42 through the year.
2) now you know the year is 2258, so now, find out what month and day into a year .42 is.

Simple as that.

for 2387, you just need to know is that the year is 2387.

If you do the equasion, 2387 – 2258, you see that the old Spock, as he said, came from 129 years in the future.

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