From Hidden Frontier
Stardates are part of a comprehensive futuristic calendar system used in the Federation that allows planets and outposts that are light-years apart, and starships traveling at near-relativistic velocities, to keep track of a unified time base despite local and unforeseen changes in the speed at which time passes.
This time system adjusts for shifts in relative time which occur due to the vessel's speed and warp capability. It has little relationship to Earth's time as we know it. One hour aboard a starship at different warps may equal many Earth hours. Stardates specified, in a log entry for example, must be computed against the speed of the vessel, the space warp factor, and its position within our galaxy, in order to give a meaningful reading when read back.
Stardate units standardize time measurement between various cultures, worlds and races. Stardates are calculated through a complicated equation that takes into account relativistic effects, universal expansion and the effects of gravity on time and space. Every so often the stardate system has to be updated to take into account the expansion of space or other natural effects. Starfleet vessels did this by contacting a nearby Starfleet time beacon and adjusting their internal chronometer. (TNG: "Cause and Effect")
In the 24th century, approximately one thousand (1,000) stardate units pass for every Earth year, although there are variations in the system at some points in the timeline.
Stardates, Years and Series Relationship
|44xxx.x||2367||TNG 4||Wolf 359|
|45xxx.x||2368||TNG 5||Klingon Civil War|
|46xxx.x||2369||TNG 6, DS9 1|
|47xxx.x||2370||TNG 7, DS9 2|
|48xxx.x||2371||VOY 1, DS9 3||
|49xxx.x||2372||VOY 2, DS9 4||Klingon-Cardassian War|
|50xxx.x||2373||VOY 3, DS9 5||"First Contact"|
|51xxx.x||2374||VOY 4, DS9 6||Dominion War|
|52xxx.x||2375||VOY 5, DS9 7||Dominion War, "Insurrection"|
|53xxx.x||2376||VOY 6, ANG 1||Deep Space 12 built|
|54xxx.x||2377||VOY 7, HF 1||Federation meets the Grey|
|55xxx.x||2378||HF 2||Grey incursion|
|57xxx.x||2380||HF 4||Siroc emerges as Federation foe|
|58xxx.x||2381||HF 5||Starfleet blockade of the Briar Patch; Tholian-Breen alliance|
|59xxx.x||2382||HF 6, INT 1||Tholian-Breen attack on the Federation, colonization of Charybdis Sector commences|
|60xxx.x||2383||HF 7||Federation-Romulan-Cardassian-Klingon alliance retaliates against Siroc and the Tholians|
|61xxx.x||2384||ODY 1, OOW, HC 1, FED 1, OBS||Archein incursion into Beta Quadrant, Odyssey lost, Helena goes rogue, Se'Fron assassinated, Vindenpawl assumes Federation Presidency|
|62xxx.x||2385||ODY 2, HC 2, FED 2, HMD 1|
Sometimes stardates pass with little rhyme or reason, they are simply manufactured by the show's creative personnel and not intended to be analyzed for any type of pattern. Gene Roddenberry and many other members of the production staff maintain that perceived irregularities in stardates stem from our own lack of understanding of subspace physics and space warp factors.
In the original Star Trek, stardates were usually four digits long. To show the passage of time, the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation decided to use five-digit stardates. They chose to begin the stardate with the number 4, chosen because the program was set during the 24th century. The next digit signified the season of TNG (so TNG Season One episodes had stardates 41xxx.x, Season Two had stardates 42xxx.x, and so forth). The remaining digits increased gradually over the course of the season, from 000.0 to 999.9.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager continued the TNG format, so that DS9's stardates ranged from 46379.1 to 52861.3, and Voyager's stardates ranged from 48315.6 to 54973.4. Star Trek: Nemesis, the latest Star Trek story in the 24th century, had a stardate of 56844.9, showing that it took place 15 years after the first season of TNG.
Hidden Frontier’s stardates overlap with DS9, VOY and "Nemesis."
- http://supernovawd.netfirms.com/Stardates/stardates_and_logs.htm - List of TOS stardates and log entries.
- http://www.freewebs.com/startreklogs/ - Database of stardates and logs from the Star Trek Movies and television series.
This article incorporates material from Memory Alpha, the free Star Trek reference.