Gaia Sky VR


Gaia Sky VR is beta software. It works reasonably well, but you may encounter hiccups here and there..

Since 3.5.0

Gaia Sky VR is the VR version of Gaia Sky. It runs on multiple headsets and operating systems using the OpenXR API.

Running Gaia Sky VR

Our tests have been carried out with the Oculus Rift CV1 headset on Windows and the Valve Index on Windows and Linux. Due to the system-agnostic nature of OpenXR, other VR HMD systems and controllers supporting OpenXR should also work fine.


Gaia LOD datasets don’t work very well in VR and may produce severe slowdowns. We recommend either curating your own datasets, or using static datasets provided by us via the download manager, like Hipparcos or GCNS5.

Currently, the regular installation of Gaia Sky also includes the VR version. On Windows, you can run it using the gaiaskyvr.exe file. On Linux, just use the -vr CLI flag.


The minimum system requirements for running Gaia Sky VR are the following:

VR System

OpenXR-compatible VR system (HMD, VR controllers, trackers)

Operating system

Windows 10+ / Linux


Intel Core i5 4rd Generation or similar (4+ core)


VR-capable GPU (GTX 970+ strongly recommended)



Hard drive

1 GB of free disk space (depends on datasets)

Software-wise, you will need the following:

  1. Follow the provided vendor instructions and install the software providing the runtime. This is the Meta VR app for Meta HMDs, or SteamVR for the HTC Vive/Pro and the Valve Index, for example.

  2. Set the runtime as the active OpenXR runtime. This typically is in the settings dialog of the runtime.

Once that is done, you can launch Gaia Sky VR and it should be able to connect to your active OpenXR runtime. Refer to the following sub-sections to learn how to launch Gaia Sky VR for your system.


The easiest way to get it running in Windows is to install the latest version of Gaia Sky and directly run the executable gaiaskyvr.exe file. You should also have a start menu entry called ‘Gaia Sky VR’, if you chose to create it during the installation.


Download and install Gaia Sky, and then run:

$  gaiasky -vr

Getting the data

See the Dataset manager section.


OpenXR defines a system-agnostic input scheme where the application defines actions which can be bound to different input device hardware. We offer a set of comprehensive bindings for the Oculus Rift CV1, the HTC Vive, the Valve Index and some others. However, if your headset is not supported you can bind the actions to your controller input yourself in your runtime. Please consult the documentation of your OpenXR runtime to learn how to do so.


Gaia Sky VR has been tested with a very small sample of VR systems. Only the Oculus Rift CV1 and the Valve Index are currently well tested. Please, do not expect everything to work flawlessly with other systems and/or headsets.

Common problems

  • If you are using an Nvidia Optimus-powered laptop, make sure that the java.exe you are using to run Gaia Sky VR is set up properly in the Nvidia Control Panel to use the discrete GPU.

  • If you experience low frame rates try using a small and static star catalog like Hipparcos instead of a Gaia DRx LOD one.

  • Make sure you are using Java 17+.