Stardate Calculation

Calculating the current stardate is realtively easy once you understand where all of the numbers come from and why they exist. This article will give you the knowledge to help you quickly calculate the current stardate.

Why use Stardates? Without giving you a lengthy explanation about space, time and physics, suffice it to say that when a ship goes to warp, it drops out of normal space and time does not pass normally. Also, much like how we have Greenwich Mean Time, the standard by which all time is kept, the Federation has stardates. It is nothing more than a standard by which to keep time. With ships constantly going in and out of warp, and over 150 planets in the Federation, no doubt all on different time schedules, the stardate was established to keep everyone in a correct frame of reference in regards to dates and times.

In order to establish a method for calculating stardates, you need to observe how it was done in the televisions series. It should be noted that The Original Series kept stardates in a different fashion than The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager did. Since the later three used a consistent method for tracking stardates, this will be the explanation provided in this article. The majority wins.

Starting with the first season of The Next Generation, the stardate was in the 41000's. Each following year, the stardate increased by 1000.

  • Season 2 = 42000
  • Season 3 = 43000
  • Season 4 = 44000
  • etc

It has also been established that each season was a new year. The references are too numerous to mention. We are currently in the year 2380 and the stardates are in the 57000s

Some will argue this point by saying that the Star Trek year starts in the fall, because that is when each new season started, which marked the beginning of a new year in accordance to the shows stardate references. Well, not even Gene Roddenberry himself could do anything about when the new seasons started on television. Also, the new seasons didn't always start on the same day, or even in the same month. So to use that as a reference for the beginning of a Star Trek year would be an inconsistency in itself. So for the sake of simplicity, on New Years Eve 2005, the Star Trek year will be 2381 and the stardate will 58000.

Now that we've established that 1000 stardate units make up one year, the rest is easy. Simply divide 1000 by 365.

1000 = stardate unit in a year
365 = number of days in a year
1000 / 365 = 2.739726

Stardates only go out to 1 decimal place, so you can round that off to 2.7. (There have been few instances where stardates went to two decimal places, but let's keep this simple.)

So we now know that each day that passes, the stardate increases by 2.7 units. There are 365 days in a year, except for leap year. Again, we're going for simplicity, so for our formula, let's stick to 365. One January 1, 2005 the stardate will be 58002.7. On January 2, 2005 the stardate will be 58005.4. This pattern continues throughout the year. Where you run into trouble is when you try to calculate the stardate for October 12, 2005. Now you need to know how many days of the year have passed so you can multiply it by 2.7. Let's simplify this even further.

On average, each month has 30 days. 30 x 12 = 360. It's not exact, but close enough for a simple stardate calculator. We can now modify our formula as follows:

(month * 30 + day) * 2.7)
Each month is numbered 1 - 12. January is 1, February is 2, etc. In the formula, all you have to do is substitute the number of the month. So if we need a stardate for June, we substitute the month variable with a 6.

(6 * 30 + day) * 2.7)
We then substitute the day variable with the day of the month. So if we want the stardate for June 12, our formula would look like this

(6 * 30 + 12) * 2.7)
Now its simple algebra. Follow your order of operations and solve the problem

(6 * 30 + 12) * 2.7)
(180 + 12) * 2.7)
(192 * 2.7)

We have already established that 2005 = 58000 in stardate terms. We now have a formula to figure out the rest of the stardate for any day of the year. Once we plug in our variables, we get a simple equations for calculating stardates. So what we end up with is

58000 + (month * 30 + day) * 2.7) = stardate
This formula works well if you're working within the year 2005 (or 2381 in Trek years). So let's take a look at how we get this formula to work with any year within these established conventions for calculating stardates.

To be continued…

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