Control panel

The Gaia Sky control panel is divided into seven panes, Time, Camera, Type visibility, Visual settings, Datasets, Objects, and Music.

User interface with all panes collapsed User interface with camera pane expanded
Collapsed control panel Expanded control panel

The seven panes, except for the Time pane, are collapsed at startup. To expand them and reveal its controls just click on the little plus icon plus-icon at the right of the pane title. Use the minus icon minus-icon to collapse it again. Panes can also be detached to their own window. To do so, use the detach icon detach-icon.

Time

You can play and pause the simulation using the play-icon/pause-icon Play/Pause buttons in the Controls window to the left. You can also use Space to play and pause the time. You can also change time warp, which is expressed as a factor. Use , and . to divide by 2 and double the value of the time warp.

Camera

In the camera options pane on the left you can select the type of camera. This can also be done by using the Numpad 0-7 keys.

There are eight camera modes:

  • Free mode – the camera is not linked to any object and its velocity is exponential with respect to the distance to the origin (Sun).
  • Focus mode – the camera is linked to a focus object and it rotates and rolls with respect to it.
  • Game mode – a game mode which maps the controls wasd + mouse look.
  • Gaia scene – outside view of the Gaia satellite. The camera can not be rotated or translated in this mode.
  • Spacecraft– take control of a spacecraft and navigate around at will.
  • Gaia FOV (1, 2, both) – the camera simulates either of the fields of view of Gaia, or both.

For more information on the camera modes, see the Camera modes section.

Additionally, there are a number of sliders for you to control different parameters of the camera:

  • Field of view – control the field of view angle of the camera. The bigger it is, the larger the portion of the scene represented.
  • Camera speed – control the longitudinal speed of the camera.
  • Rotation speed – control the transversal speed of the camera, how fast it rotates around an object.
  • Turn speed – control the turning speed of the camera.

You can lock the camera to the focus when in focus mode. Doing so links the reference system of the camera to that of the object and thus it moves with it.

Hint

Lock the camera so that it stays at the same relative position to the focus object.

Finally, we can also lock the orientation of the camera to that of the focus so that the same transformation matrix is applied to both.

Hint

Lock the orientation so that the camera also rotates with the focus.

Additionally, we can also enable the crosshair, which will mark the currently focused object.

Type visibility

Most graphical elements can be turned off and on using these toggles. For example you can remove the stars from the display by clicking on the stars toggle. The object types available are the following:

  • stars – Stars
  • planets – Planets
  • moons – Moons
  • satellites – Satellites
  • asteroids – Asteroids
  • clusters – Star clusters
  • milkyway – Milky Way
  • galaxies – Galaxies
  • nebulae – Nebulae
  • meshes – Meshes
  • equatorial – Equatorial grid
  • ecliptic – Ecliptic grid
  • galactic – Galactic grid
  • labels – Labels
  • titles – Titles
  • orbits – Orbits
  • locations – Locations
  • countries – Countries
  • constellations – Constellations
  • boundaries – Constellation boundaries
  • ruler – Rulers
  • effects – Particle effects
  • atmospheres – Atmospheres
  • clouds – Clouds
  • axes – Axes
  • arrows – Velocity vectors
  • others – Others

Individual visibility

This button provides access to controls to manipulate the individual visibility of some non-selectable object types like meshes and constellations.

Individual object visibility

Individual object visibility button and dialog

As shown in the image above, when clicking the “Individual visibility” button, a new dialog appears, from which individual meshes and constellations can be selected and unselected. Unselected objects will not be rendered.

Velocity vectors

Enabling velocity vectors activates the representation of star velocities, if the currently loaded catalog provides them. Once velocity vectors are activated, a few extra controls become available to tweak their length and color.

Velocity vectors in Gaia Sky

Velocity vectors in Gaia Sky

  • Number factor – control how many velocity vectors are rendered. The stars are sorted by magnitude (ascending) so the brightest stars will get velocity vectors first.

  • Length factor – length factor to scale the velocity vectors.

  • Color mode – choose the color scheme for the velocity vectors:

    • Direction – color-code the vectors by their direction. The vectors \vec{v} are pre-processed (\vec{v}'=\frac{|\vec{v}|+1}{2}) and then the xyz components are mapped to the colors rgb.
    • Speed – the speed is normalized in from [0,100] Km/h to [0,1] and then mapped to colors using a long rainbow colormap (see here).
    • Has radial velocity – stars in blue have radial velocity, stars in red have no radial velocity.
    • Redshift from the Sun – map the redshift (radial velocity) from the sun using a red-to-blue colormap.
    • Redshift from the camera – map the redshift (radial velocity) from the current camera position using a red-to-blue colormap.
    • Solid color – use a solid color for all arrows.
  • Show arrowheads – Whether to show the vectors with arrow caps or not.

Hint

Control the width of the velocity vectors with the line width slider in the visual settings pane.

Visual settings

Here are a few options to control the lighting of the scene:

  • Star brightness – control the brightness of stars.
  • Star size (px) – control the size of point-like stars.
  • Min. star opacity – set a minimum opacity for the faintest stars.
  • Ambient light – control the amount of ambient light. This only affects the models such as the planets or satellites.
  • Line width – control the width of all lines in Gaia Sky (orbits, velocity vectors, etc.).
  • Label size – control the size of the labels.
  • Elevation multiplier – scale the height representation.

Bookmarks

Gaia Sky offers a bookmark system to keep your favorite objects organized and at hand. This panel centralizes the operation of bookmarks. You can find more information on this in the bookmarks section.

Datasets

This tab contains all the datasets currently loaded. For each dataset, a highlight color can be defined. The dataset properties window can be used to define arbitrary filters on any of the properties of the elements of the dataset. Datasets can be highlighted by clicking on the little crosshair next to the name, below the color picker.

Please see the datasets section for more information on this.

Music

Since version 0.800b, Gaia Sky also offers a music player in its interface. By default it ships with only a few spacey melody, but you can add your own by dropping them in the folder $GS_DATA/music (see folders).

Hint

Drop your mp3, ogg or wav files in the folder $GS_DATA/music and these will be available during your Gaia Sky sessions to play.

In order to start playing, click on the audio-play Play button. To pause the track, click on the audio-pause Pause icon. To skip to the next track, click on the audio-fwd Forward icon. To go to the previous track, click on the audio-bwd Backward icon. The volume can be controlled by scrolling up and down, using the mouse wheel, over the volume indicator. The default volume value is 5%.

Bottom buttons

The buttons at the bottom of the control panel are described here.

Minimap

With this button minimap you can toggle the minimap window on an off. You can also use Tab.

Load dataset

Use this button dsload to load a new VOTable file (.vot) into Gaia Sky. Refer to the STIL data provider section for more information on the metadata needed for Gaia Sky to parse the dataset correctly.

Preferences window

You can launch the preferences window any time during the execution of the program. To do so, click on the prefsicon Preferences button at the bottom of the GUI window. For a detailed description of the configuration options refer to the Configuration Instructions.

Log

The log button logicon brings up the log window, which displays the Gaia Sky log for the current session. The log can be exported to a file by clicking on the Export to file button. The location of the exported log files is $GS_DATA (see folders).

About/help

The help button helpicon brings up the help dialog, where information on the current system, OpenGL settings, Java memory, updates and contact can be found.

Exit

Click on the cross icon to exit Gaia Sky. You can also use Esc.