This section describes the controls of Gaia Sky.

Keyboard controls

To check the most up-to-date controls go to the Controls tab in the preferences window. Here are the default keyboard controls depending on the current camera mode. Learn more about camera modes in the Camera modes section.

Keyboard mappings

The keyboard mappings are stored in an internal file called keyboard.mappings (link). If you want to edit the keyboard mappings, copy the file it into $GS_CONFIG/mappings/ and edit it. This overrides the default internal mappings file. The file consists of a series of <ACTION>=<KEYS> entries. For example:

# Help                                 = F1                                 = H

# Exit
action.exit                                 = ESC

# Home
action.home                                 = HOME

# Preferences
action.preferences                          = P

#action.playcamera                          = C

The available actions are defined in this I18n file here.

Focus and free camera modes

These keyboard controls apply to the focus mode and also to the free mode.

Key(s) Action
Camera forward
Camera backward
Rotate/yaw right
Rotate/yaw left
Home Back to Earth (or any other home object)
Tab Toggle minimap
Ctrl + r Reset time to current
Num 0 or 0 Free camera
Num 1 or 1 Focus camera
Num 2 or 2 Game mode
Num 3 or 3 Gaia scene mode
Num 4 or 4 Spacecraft mode
Num 5 or 5 Gaia FOV1 camera
Num 6 or 6 Gaia FOV2 camera
Num 7 or 7 Gaia FOV1 and FOV2 camera
Ctrl + w New keyframe
Ctrl + k Panorama mode
Space Pause/resume time
F1 Help dialog
F5 Take screenshot
F6 Start/stop frame output mode
F11 Toggle fullscreen/windowed mode
Ctrl + f or f Search dialog
Esc or q Quit application
p Open preferences dialog
h Open help dialog
r Run script dialog
c Run camera path file dialog
- Decrease limiting magnitude
+ Increase limiting magnitude
, Divide time warp by two
. Double time warp
* Reset limiting magnitude
Shift + b Toggle constellation boundaries
Shift + c Toggle constellation lines
Shift + e Toggle ecliptic grid
Shift + g Toggle galactic grid
Shift + l Toggle labels
Shift + m Toggle moons
Shift + o Toggle orbits
Shift + p Toggle planets
Shift + q Toggle equatorial grid
Shift + s Toggle stars
Shift + t Toggle satellites
Shift + v Toggle star clusters
Shift + h Toggle meshes
Shift + u Expand/collapse controls window
Ctrl + u Toggle UI completely (hide/show user interface)
Ctrl + d Toggle debug info
Ctrl + s Toggle stereoscopic mode
Ctrl + Shift + s Switch between stereoscopic profiles
Ctrl + k Toggle 360 panorama mode
Ctrl + Shift + k Switch between 360 projections
Ctrl + Shift + g Toggle galaxy renderer

Spacecraft mode

These controls apply only to the spacecraft mode.

Key(s) Action
w Apply forward thrust
s Apply backward thrust
a Roll to the left
d Roll to the right
k Stop spaceship automatically
l Stabilize spaceship automatically
Decrease pitch angle
Increase pitch angle
Increase yaw angle
Decrease yaw angle
PgUp Increase engine power by a factor of 10
PgDown Decrease engine power by a factor of 10

Mouse controls

Here are the default mouse controls for the focus and free Camera modes. The other modes do not have mouse controls.

Focus mode

Mouse + keys Action
L-MOUSE DOUBLE CLICK Select focus object
L-MOUSE SINGLE CLICK Stop all rotation and translation movement
L-MOUSE + DRAG Apply rotation around focus
L-MOUSE + Shift + DRAG Camera roll
R-MOUSE + DRAG Pan view freely from focus
M-MOUSE + DRAG or WHEEL Move towards/away from focus

Free mode

Mouse + keys Action
L-MOUSE DOUBLE CLICK Select object as focus (changes to focus mode)
L-MOUSE SINGLE CLICK Stop all rotation and translation movement
L-MOUSE + DRAG Pan view
L-MOUSE + Shift + DRAG Camera roll
M-MOUSE + DRAG or WHEEL Forward/backward movement

Game mode

Use the mouse to look around and wasd to move.

Gamepad controls

Gaia Sky supports Game controllers through [SDL]( This means that most controllers should just work out-of-the-box. The default controller mappings file, SDL_Controller.controller, should always be used initially. Should this file not work for your controller, you can create your custom mappings easily and interactively by going to the preferences window > controls and clicking on the “Configure” button next to your controller. Then, follow screen instructions.

User mappings files (see here) can be added manually to $GS_CONFIG/mappings (see folders) folder, or set up automatically from within Gaia Sky. The controller mappings file contains the axis or button numbers for each input type. Below is an example of one such file.

#Controller mappings definition file for Wireless Steam Controller

Controller actions

Default controller actions
Button/axis Action
R-stick H rotate around horizontally (focus mode), yaw (free mode)
R-stick V rotate around vertycally (focus mode), pitch (free mode)
L-stick H roll
L-stick V forward/backward
RT roll right
LT roll left
Start preferences
A toggle labels
B toggle asteroids
X toggle minimap
Y toggle orbits
Dpad up increase star size
Dpad down decrease star size
Dpad right start time
Dpad left stop time
R-stick click stop time