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|Out of universe information|
When first explored in 1997, the Tau'ri found the Stargate (known to the natives as the “Circle of the Gods”) to be located in a forested area some distance from any signs of civilization. The planet, lacking proper atmospheric protection, is greatly exposed to UV radiation and, although thick vegetation exists, is unsuitable for most animals. Shade and heavy cloud cover wasn't capable of providing enough shelter from the planet's sun. Because it is dangerous to travel outdoors during the day, the inhabitants were cave-dwellers who only came out at night. That changed when the Solar radiation shield was activated, finally enabling the residents to walk out of the caves at day because the Device protects them against the UV radiation. (SG1: "The First Commandment")