Gaia Sky, 3D Universe software for Gaia and astronomy outreach
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Gaia Sky

Build status License: MPL 2.0 GitHub issues GitHub forks GitHub tag

Gaia Sky is a real-time, 3D, astronomy visualisation software that runs on Windows, Linux and macOS. It is developed in the framework of ESA's Gaia mission to chart about 1 billion stars of our Galaxy. To get the latest up-to-date and most complete information,

This file contains the following sections:

  1. Installation instructions and requirements
  2. Running instructions
  3. Documentation and help
  4. Copyright and licensing information
  5. Contact information
  6. Credits and acknowledgements
  7. Gaia Sky VR

1. Installation instructions and requirements

1.1 Requirements

Operating system Linux / Windows 7+ / macOS
CPU Intel Core i5 3rd Generation or similar
GPU Intel HD 4000, Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT, Radeon HD 5670 / 1 GB VRAM / OpenGL 3.0
Memory 4+ GB RAM
Hard drive 1 GB of free disk space

1.2 Installation and uninstallation

Depending on your system and your personal preferences the installation procedure may vary. Below is a description of the various installation methods available. You can download the packages here.

1.2.1 Linux

We provide 4 packages for linux systems. deb, rpm, an aur package and a linux installer. You can get them here. The aur package can be installed using any AUR helper. DEB

This is the package for Debian-based distros (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, SteamOS, etc.). Download the gaiasky_linux_<version>.deb file and run the following command. You will need root privileges to install a deb package in your system.

$  sudo dpkg -i gaiasky_linux_<version>.deb

This will install the application in the /opt/gaiasky/ folder and it will create the necessary shortcuts.

In order to uninstall, just type:

$  sudo apt-get remove gaiasky AUR

We also provide an AUR package called gaiasky. You can install it easily with any tool capable of accessing AUR, for example yaourt.

$  yaourt -S gaiasky RPM

This is the package for RPM-based distributions (Red Hat, Fedora, Mandriva, SUSE, CentOS, etc.) Download the gaiasky_linux_<version>.rpm file and run the following command. You will need root privileges to install a rpm package in your system.

$  sudo yum install gaiasky_linux_<version>.rpm

This will install the application in the /opt/gaiasky/ folder and it will create the necessary shortcuts.

In order to uninstall, just type:

$  sudo yum remove gaiasky-x86 Linux installer

We also provide a Linux installer (here) which will trigger a graphical interface where you can choose the installation location and some other settings. Download the file gaiasky_unix_<version>.sh to your disk. Then run the following to start the installation.

$  ./gaiasky_unix_[version].sh

Follow the on-screen instructions to proceed with the installation.

In order to uninstall, just run the uninstall file in the installation folder.

1.2.2 Windows

Two windows installers are available for 32 and 64-bit systems here.

  • gaiasky_windows_<version>.exe - 32 bit installer.
  • gaiasky_windows-x64_<version>.exe - 64 bit installer.

Both versions will automatically install the JRE if it is not present in the system. To install Gaia Sky, just double click on the installer and then follow the on-screen instructions. You will need to choose the directory where the application is to be installed.

In order to uninstall the application you can use the Windows Control Panel or you can use the provided uninstaller in the Gaia Sky folder.

1.2.3 macOS

For macOS we provide a gaiasky_macos_<version>.dmg file which is installed by double-clicking on it and following the on-screen instructions. Get it here. Once unpacked, you can run it by clicking on it.

1.2.4 Compressed (TGZ) package

A gaiasky-<version>.tgz package file is also provided. It will work in all systems but you need to unpack it yourself and create the desired shortcuts.

In Windows, use an archiver software (7zip, iZArc, etc.) to unpack it. When using the tgz package, uou need to install the JRE8 yourself.

In Linux and macOS, you can use:

$  tar -zxvf gaiasky-<version>.tgz

2. Running instructions

2.1 Running Gaia Sky

In order to run the program just click on the shortcut provided in your operating system or use the CLI command gaiasky.

2.2 Running from source

In order to compile and run Gaia Sky from source, you need the following installed in your system:

  • JDK8+
  • git

First, clone the GitLab repository:

$  git clone

2.2.1 Getting the data

As of version 2.1.0, Gaia Sky offers an automated way to download all data packs and catalogs from within the application. When Gaia Sky starts, if no base data or catalogs are found, the downloader window will prompt automatically. Otherwise, you can force the download window at startup with the -d argument. Just select the data packs and catalogs that you want to download, press Download now and wait for the process to finish.

You can also download the data packs manually here.

2.2.2 Running

Finally, run Gaia Sky (Linux, macOS) with:

$  gradlew core:run

On Windows, do:

.\gradlew.bat core:run

Et voilà ! The bleeding edge Gaia Sky is running in your machine.

2.4 CLI arguments

Gaia Sky accepts a few command-line arguments:

Usage: gaiasky [options]
    -c, --cat-chooser
      Displays the catalog chooser dialog at startup
      Default: false
    -d, --ds-download
      Displays the download dialog at startup
      Default: false
    -h, --help
      Shows help
    -v, --version
      Lists version and build inforamtion
      Default: false

3. Documentation and help

The most up-to-date documentation of Gaia Sky is always in For older versions and other formats, see here.

We also have a mirror at

3.1. Documentation submodule

In order to add the documentation submodule to the project, do:

$  git submodule init
$  git submodule update

The documentation project will be checked out in the docs/ folder.

4. Copyright and licensing information

This software is published and distributed under the MPL 2.0 (Mozilla Public License 2.0). You can find the full license text here or visiting

5. Contact information

The main webpage of the project is There you can find the latest versions and the latest information on Gaia Sky.

6. Acknowledgements

The latest acknowledgements are always in the file.

7. Gaia Sky VR

There exists a development version of Gaia Sky which works with the VR headsets supporting OpenVR. More information on this is available in the file on the vr branch.