Running Gaia Sky

If you installed the software using an installer or a package manager system (rpm, deb), you just need to use the standard running procedures of your Operating System to run the application.


Just type gaiasky in a terminal or use your favourite desktop environment search engine to run the Gaia Sky launcher.


In windows, this means clicking on Start and then browsing the start menu folder Gaia Sky. You can run the executable from there.

macOS X

Locate the launcher in your install directory (usually /Applications) and double click on it.

Code and pakcage

However, if you are a maverick and do not like installers, you can also run the Gaia Sky directly from the source code in GitHub or using the tgz package.

CLI arguments

Gaia Sky offers a few command line arguments:

$  gaiasky -h

   Usage: gaiasky [options]
          -h, --help
            Show program options and usage information
          -v, --version
            List Gaia Sky version and relevant information.
            Default: false
          -d, --ds-download
            Display the data download dialog at startup. If no data is found, the
            download dialog is shown automatically.
            Default: false
          -c, --cat-chooser
            Display the catalog chooser dialog at startup. This enables the
            selection of different available catalogs when Gaia Sky starts.
            Default: false
          -p, --properties
            Specify the location of the properties file.
          -a, --assets
            Specify the location of the assets folder. If not present, the default
            assets location is used.
          -vr, --openvr
            Launch in Virtual Reality mode. Gaia Sky will attempt creating an VR
            context through OpenVR.
            Default: false

Running from source


If you want to compile the source code, you will need the following:

  • JDK8+

  • git

Please, be aware that only tags are guaranteed to work (here). The master branch holds the development version and the configuration files are possibly messed up and not ready to work out-of-the-box. So remember to use a tag version if you want to run it right away from source.

First, clone the repository:

$  git clone

Getting the catalog data


As of version 2.1.0, Gaia Sky provides a self-contained download manager to get all the data packs available.

The base-data pack is necessary for Gaia Sky to run, and contains the Solar System, the Milky Way model, etc. Catalog files are optional but recommended if you want to see any stars at all. You can bring up the download manager at any time by clicking on the button Data download in the preferences window, data tab. More information on the download manager can be found in Data download manager.

You can also download the data packs manually here.

Compiling and running

To compile the code and run Gaia Sky run the following.

$  gradlew core:run

Tip: Gaia Sky will check that you are using Java 1.8 when running the build. You can still use a newer JDK version (e.g. JDK 10) by setting the following environment variable to false in the context of gradle:

$  export GS_JAVA_VERSION_CHECK=false

In order to pull the latest changes from the GitHub repository:

$  git pull

Packaging Gaia Sky

Gaia Sky can be exported to a folder to be run as a standalone app with the following.

$ gradlew core:dist

That will create a new folder called releases/gaiasky-[version].[revison] with the exported application. Run scripts are provided with the name gaiasky (Linux, macOS) and gaiasky.cmd (Windows).

Also, to export Gaia Sky into a tar.gz archive file, run the following.

$  gradlew core:createTar

In order to produce the desktop installers for the various systems you need a licensed version of Install4j. Then, you need to run:

$  gradlew core:pack

These command will produce the different OS packages (.exe, .dmg, .deb, .rpm, etc.) of Gaia Sky into releases/packages-[version].[revision] folder.

Running from downloaded package

If you prefer to run the application from the tar.gz package, follow the instructions below.


In order to run the application on Linux, open the terminal, uncompress the archive, give execution permissions to the gaiasky script and then run it.

$  tar zxvf gaiasky-[version].tar.gz
$  cd gaiasky-[version]/
$  gaiasky


In order to run the application on Windows, open a terminal window (type cmd in the start menu search box) and run the gaiasky.cmd file.

$  cd path_to_gaiasky_folder
$  gaiasky.cmd

macOS X

To run the application on macOS, follow the instructions in the Linux section.