Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source

Gaia Sky logo

An open source 3D universe simulator for desktop and VR with support for more than a billion objects

License: MPL 2.0 Docs Issues

Gaia Sky is a real-time 3D Universe application that runs on Linux, Windows and macOS. It is developed within the framework of ESA's Gaia mission to chart more than 1 billion stars.

A part of Gaia Sky is described in the paper Gaia Sky: Navigating the Gaia Catalog.

To get the latest up-to-date and most complete information,

This file contains the following sections:

  1. Installation instructions and requirements
  2. Pre-built packages
  3. Running from source
  4. Documentation and help
  5. Copyright and licensing information
  6. Contact information
  7. Credits and acknowledgements
  8. Gaia Sky VR

1. Installation instructions and requirements

1.1. Requirements

Component Minimum requirement
Operating system Linux / Windows 7+ / macOS, 64-bit
CPU Intel Core i5 3rd Generation or similar. 4 core or higher recommended
GPU Support for OpenGL 3.2 (4.x recommended) and GLSL 3.3, 1 GB RAM
Memory 2-6 GB RAM depending on catalog
Hard drive 1 GB of free disk space (depending on datasets)

2. Pre-built packages

This is the Gaia Sky source repository. We recommend using the pre-built packages for the different Operating Systems in case you want a stable and hassle-free experience. We offer pre-built packages for Linux, macOS or Windows here.

3. Running from source repository

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

  • JDK15+
  • git

First, clone the Gaia Sky repository:

git clone

Then, run Gaia Sky (Linux, macOS) with the provided script:

cd gaiasky

On Windows, open PowerShell, make sure your $JAVA_HOME environment variable points to a valid JDK15+ installation, and run:

.\gradlew.bat core:run

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

3.1 CLI arguments

Run gaiasky -h or man gaiasky to find out about how to launch Gaia Sky and what arguments are accepted.

3.2 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.

4. Documentation and help

The most up-to-date documentation of Gaia Sky is always hosted at

4.1. 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.

5. 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

6. Contact information

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

7. Acknowledgements

The latest acknowledgements are always in the file.

8. Gaia Sky VR

You can run Gaia Sky in VR with Valve's OpenVR with the -vr flag.

gaiasky -vr

More information on how to make the VR version work properly in the file.

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