Settings and configuration

Gaia Sky can be configured using the provided GUI (Graphical User Interface). However, some functions are not represented in the GUI, so you may need to dive deep into the properties file.

Graphics settings

Please refer to the Graphics settings chapter.

User interface

The User Interface section allows the user to set the language and the theme of the user interface.

One can select between a choice of languages using the language drop-down. There are currently three visual themes available:

  • dark-orange, black and orange theme.

  • dark-orange-large, same as dark-orange, but with larger fonts.

  • dark-green, black and green theme. The default since v0.800b.

  • light-blue, a light theme with a blue tone.

  • HiDPI, a version of the dark-orange theme to be used with high density (retina) screens, 4K monitors, etc.


In the Performance tab you can enable and disable multithreading. Multithreading is still an experimental feature, so use it at your own risk. This allows the program to use more than one CPUs for the processing.

Levels of Detail (LOD)

Certain big datasets use levels of detail to prevent data clutter. Refer to the Levels of Detail (LOD) section for more info.


You can see the key associations in the Controls tab. Controls are not editable. Check out the Controls documentation to know more.

Screenshot configuration

You can take screenshots anytime when the application is running by pressing F5. There are two screenshot modes available: * Simple, the classic screenshot of what is currently on screen, with the same resolution. * Advanced, where you can define the resolution of the screenshots.

Frame output

There is a feature in the Gaia Sky that enables the output of every frame as an image. This is useful to produce videos. In order to configure the frame output system, use the Frame output tab. There you can select the output folder, the image prefix name, the output image resolution (in case of Advanced mode) and the target frames per second. When the program is in frame output mode, it does not run in real time but it adjusts the internal clock to produce as many frames per second as specified here. You have to take it into account when you later use your favourite video encoder (ffmpeg) to convert the frame images into a video.

Camera recording

Here you can set the desired frames per second to capture the camera paths. If your device is not fast enough in producing the specified frame rate, the application will slow down while recording so that enough frames are captured. Same behaviour will be uploading during camera playback.

360 mode

Here you can define the cube map side resolution for the 360 mode. With this mode a cube map will be rendered (the whole scene in all direction +X, -X, +Y, -Y, +Z, -Z) and then it will be transformed into a flat image using an equirectangular projection. This allows for the creation of 360 (VR) videos.

360 mode in Gaia Sky

360 mode in Gaia Sky


As of version 1.0.0 you can use the Data tab to select the catalogue to load. Gaia Sky ships with two catalogues by default:

  • TGAS This is based on the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (source and contains a little over 600.000 stars. This catalogue uses levels of detail which can be configured in the Performance tab.

  • HYG This is the Hipparcos, Gliese and Yale Bright Stars (home page, GitHub repository) and contains roughly some 100.000 stars.


Here you can choose the attitude of the satellite. You can either use the real attitude (takes a while to load but will ensure that Gaia points to where it should) and the NSL, which is an analytical implementation of the nominal attitude of the satellite. It behaves the same as the real thing, but the observation direction is not ensured.

Check for new version

You can always check for a new version by clicking on this button. By default, the application checks for a new version if more than five days have passed since the last check. If a new version is found, you will see the notice here together with a link to the download.

Do not show that again!

If you do not want this configuration dialogue to be displayed again when you launch the Gaia Sky, tick this check box and you are good to go.