Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Gaia Sky

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Gaia Sky icon

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 in the Gaia group of the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ZAHUniversität Heidelberg).

  • Free and open source - Open source and free, and will stay this way. Contribute to the development and translations.
  • High object count - The MS-LOD technique enables the real-time exploration of billions of objects.
  • From Gaia to the cosmos - Explore from high-z galaxies to small asteroids in a seamless manner.
  • Virtual Reality - Visit the whole Universe in VR!
  • 6D exploration - Observe star positions but also proper motions and radial velocities, if available.
  • Planetary surfaces - Explore surfaces with elevation maps (using tessellation, if available).
  • Procedural planets - Procedurally generate planet surfaces, clouds and atmospheres.
  • Advanced graphics - Virtual textures, screen space reflections, shadows, HDR, ray-marched distance fields, dynamic resolution, etc.
  • Eclipses - Real-time eclipse representation in all bodies.
  • 3D-ready - 6 stereoscopic modes: Anaglyphic (red-cyan), VR headset, 3DTV (H and V), cross-eye and parallel view.
  • 360 mode - Spherical (equirectangular), cylindrical and Hammer projections available, plus many reprojection modes.
  • Planetarium projection mode - Azimuthal equidistant (dome master) projection for single-projector setups. MPCDI for real-time usage in multi-projector systems. Ready to produce videos for full domes from the desktop app.
  • Gaia - Observe Gaia in its orbit and discover its movement in the sky and its attitude.
  • Use your data - Download pre-packed datasets (Gaia DR3+, NEARGALCAT, SDSS, Open Clusters catalog, etc.) or use your own, in VOTable, FITS, CSV and other formats (STIL).
  • Real-time filters - Filter any dataset by distance, magnitude, galactic, ecliptic, equatorial coordinates, and more.
  • SAMP aware - Use SAMP to interoperate with SAMP-ready software such as Topcat and Aladin.
  • Navigate the galaxy - Use your favorite controllers and gamepads to navigate the Galaxy. Piece of cake!
  • Camera paths - Record and play camera paths off-the-shelf.
  • Scriptable and extensible - Use Python to script and extend the capabilities of the Gaia Sky.
  • Internationalised - Translated to English, German, Spanish, French, Catalan, Slovenian and Bulgarian.


Gaia Sky documentation - We have all the most up-to-date documentation in our servers. Links to the documentation for older Gaia Sky versions can be found at the bottom of the side bar, to the left. We also offer a PDF version. It continually grows, so stay tuned!


Find all of our videos in our Gaia Sky video channel.

Main designer & developer

Toni Sagristà Sellés

E-mail: (please send bugs/requests/questions here)

Mastodon: (English), (Catalan)

Twitter: @GaiaSky_Dev

Personal webpage:

Supervisor & contributor

Apl. Prof. Dr. Stefan Jordan


Twitter: @StefanJordanARI

Personal webpage:


A full contributors list can be found in the file.


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


Full acknowledgements list:

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