Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Gaia Sky

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Gaia Sky logo

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

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 - Gaia Sky is open and free, and will stay this way. Contribute to the development and translations.
  • From Gaia to the cosmos - Move freely through the cosmos or explore the Solar System in a seamless manner!
  • Virtual Reality - The whole Universe in VR!
  • 6D exploration - Represents star positions but also proper motions and radial velocities, if available.
  • Planetary surfaces - Explore surfaces with elevation maps (using tessellation, if available).
  • Procedural planets - Gaia Sky is able to procedurally generate planet surfaces, clouds and atmospheres.
  • 3D-ready - With 6 stereoscopic modes: Anaglyphic (red-cyan), VR headset, 3DTV (H and V), cross-eye and parallel view.
  • 360 mode - With sperhical (equirectangular), cylindrical and Hammer projections.
  • Planetarium projection mode - 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 eDR3, NBG, SDSS, OCDR2, 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 - Implements SAMP commands to interoperate with SAMP-ready software such as Topcat and Aladin.
  • Navigate the galaxy - Support for controllers and gamepads makes navigating the Galaxy a piece of cake.
  • Record and play your camera paths - Ready to 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 so far 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. It continually grows, so stay tuned!


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

Contact information

Main designer & developer

Toni Sagristà Sellés

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

Twitter: @GaiaSky_Dev, @jumpinglangur

Personal webpage:

Supervisor & contributor

Apl. Prof. Dr. Stefan Jordan

E-mail: jordan(at)

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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