Chapter 4. Command Reference

Menu Commands

File Menu

FileOpen FITS... (Ctrl+O)

Open a FITS image in the FITS Viewer tool

FileSave Sky Image... (Ctrl+I)

Create image on disk from current display

FileRun Script... (Ctrl+R)

Run the specified KStars script

FilePrinting Wizard

Starts a wizard to configure capturing sky objects images using telescope and printing the results as a good looking printout for further use or catalogization.

FilePrint... (Ctrl+P)

Send the current sky map to the printer (or to a PostScript/PDF file)

FileQuit (Ctrl+Q)

Quit KStars

Time Menu

TimeSet Time to Now (Ctrl+E)

Sync time to system clock

TimeSet Time... (Ctrl+S)

Set time and date

TimeAdvance one step backward in time (<)

Advance one step backward in time in the KStars simulation of the sky chart. The duration of the time step can be configured after pressing the little > button on the KStars toolbar.

TimeStop Clock

Toggle whether time passes

TimeAdvance one step forward in time (>)

Advance one step forward in time in the KStars simulation of the sky chart. The duration of the time step can be configured after pressing the little > button on the KStars toolbar.

Pointing Menu

PointingZenith (Z)

Center the display at the Zenith point (straight up)

PointingNorth (N)

Center the display above the North point on the horizon

PointingEast (E)

Center the display above the East point on the horizon

PointingSouth (S)

Center the display above the South point on the horizon

PointingWest (W)

Center the display above the West point on the horizon

PointingSet Coordinates Manually... (Ctrl+M)

Center the display on specific sky coordinates

PointingFind Object (Ctrl+F)

Locate an object by name using the Find Object Window

PointingStop Tracking (Ctrl+T)

Toggle tracking on/off. While tracking, the display will remain centered on the current position or object.

View Menu

ViewZoom in (Ctrl++)

Zooms view in

ViewZoom out (Ctrl+-)

Zooms view out

ViewDefault Zoom (Ctrl+Z)

Restore the default Zoom setting

ViewZoom to Angular Size... (Ctrl+Shift+Z)

Zoom to specified field-of-view angle

ViewFull Screen Mode (Ctrl+Shift+F)

Toggle full-screen mode

ViewSwitch to star globe view / Switch to horizontal view (Space)

Toggle between the Horizontal and Equatorial Coordinate Systems

ViewProjectionLambert Azimuthal Equal-area (F5)

Switch sky chart view to the Lambert azimuthal equal-area projection.

ViewProjectionAzimuthal Equidistant (F6)

Switch sky chart view to the azimuthal equidistant projection.

ViewProjectionOrthographic (F7)

Switch sky chart view to the orthographic projection.

ViewProjectionEquirectangular (F8)

Switch sky chart view to the equirectangular projection.

ViewProjectionStereographic (F9)

Switch sky chart view to the stereographic projection.

ViewProjectionGnomonic (F10)

Switch sky chart view to the gnomonic projection.

Tools Menu

ToolsCalculator (Ctrl+C)

Opens the AstroCalculator Tool, which provides full access to many of the mathematical functions used by KStars.

ToolsDevicesTelescope Wizard...

Opens the Telescope Wizard, which provides a step-by-step guide to help you connect to your telescope and control it with KStars.

ToolsDevicesDevice Manager... (Ctrl+D)

Opens up the device manager, which allows you to start/shutdown device drivers and connect to remote INDI servers.

ToolsDevicesINDI Control Panel...

Opens up INDI Control Panel, which allows you to control all the features supported by a device.

ToolsSky Calendar

Opens the Sky Calendar Tool, which allows you to plan observations of Solar System planets by giving graphical data on sets and rises of these objects.

ToolsAltitude vs. Time (Ctrl+A)

Opens the Altitude vs. Time Tool, which can plot curves representing the altitude of any object as a function of time. This is useful for planning observing sessions.

ToolsWhat's Up Tonight (Ctrl+U)

Opens the What's Up Tonight Tool, which presents a summary of the objects which are observable from your location on a given date.

ToolsWhat's Interesting... (Ctrl+W)

Opens the What's Interesting Tool, which allows you to be informed about the most interesting observations that can be made from your current location using the given equipment.

ToolsScript Builder (Ctrl+B)

Opens the Script Builder Tool, which provides a GUI interface for building KStars D-Bus scripts.

ToolsSolar System (Ctrl+Y)

Opens the Solar System Viewer, which displays an overhead view of the solar system on the current simulation date.

ToolsEkos (Ctrl+K)

Opens Ekos, a complete and powerful tool for astrophotography. With Ekos, you can align and guide your telescope, focus your CCD, and capture images using an easy intuitive interface.

ToolsJupiter's Moons (Ctrl+J)

Opens the Jupiter Moons Tool, which displays the positions of Jupiter's four brightest moons as a function of time.


Opens the Flag manager Tool, which can be used to assign color labels and icons to the given positions on the sky chart.

Data Menu

DataDownload New Data... (Ctrl+N)

Open the Get Hot New Stuff dialog to download additional data for KStars.


This submenu can be used to update various object data, namely asteroids, comets and satellites orbital elements as well as recent supernovae data from the Internet. The data will be downloaded for the current user account only. If you use KStars from different account you should download them for every account separately.

KStars tries to download recent supernovae list automatically by default. You can switch the download off using Supernovae page of KStars Settings window.

Observation Menu

ObservationObservation Planner (Ctrl+L)

Open the Observation Planner tool.

ObservationExecute the session Plan (Ctrl+2)

Opens session plan wizard or execute the planned session.

Settings Menu

SettingsInfo BoxesShow Info Boxes

Toggle display of all three Info Boxes:

  • Time Box

  • Focus Box

  • Location Box

SettingsInfo BoxesShow Time Box

Toggle display of the Time Info Box. By default, the Time Info Box is located in the top left side of the screen. You can change the position of Time Info Box by holding the left-click mouse button and dragging it to the new position.

SettingsInfo BoxesShow Focus Box

Toggle display of the Focus Info Box. By default, the Focus Info Box is located in the top right side of the screen. You can change the position of Focus Info Box by holding the left-click mouse button and dragging it to the new position.

SettingsInfo BoxesShow Location Box

Toggle display of the Location Info Box. By default, the Location Info Box is located in the bottom left side of the screen. You can change the position of Location Info Box by holding the left-click mouse button and dragging it to the new position.

SettingsToolbars ShownMain Toolbar

Toggle display of the Main Toolbar. By default, the Main Toolbar provides useful shortcuts for controlling the sky map view (i.e. Zoom in and Zoom out) and for controlling KStars clock as well. You can Start / Stop the clock, advance one step backward / forward in time and also you can easily set the time step used by KStars' clock. The time step is the rate at which time flows in the simulation. For setting the time step, you can use the spin box used for establishing the time step units and the spin box used for increasing / decreasing the time step value. Using the Main Toolbar you can quickly open the Find Object, Set Time or Set Geographic Location window. Main Toolbar can be configured using SettingsConfigure Toolbars.

SettingsToolbars ShownView Toolbar

Toggle display of the View Toolbar. View Toolbar controls which sky objects are drawn on KStars Sky Map (stars, deep sky objects, Solar system objects, supernovae or satellites) as well as what constellation information is included (constellation lines, constellation names, constellation art or constellation boundaries). It also provides icon shortcuts for: showing milky way (drawn with dark grey color), showing equatorial/horizontal coordinate grid and for showing the green opaque ground. Note that when the horizon is switched off, refraction effects are temporarily disabled. View Toolbar can be configured using SettingsConfigure Toolbars.

SettingsToolbars ShownINDI Toolbar

Toggle display of the INDI Toolbar. By default, INDI Toolbar contains three shortcut icons:

  • Toggle Ekos

  • Toggle INDI Control Panel

  • Toggle FITS Viewer

INDI Toolbar can be configured using SettingsConfigure Toolbars.

SettingsStatusbarShow Statusbar

Toggle display of the Statusbar. It is located in the bottom of KStars window.

SettingsStatusbarShow Az/Alt Field

Toggle display of the mouse cursor's horizontal coordinates in the statusbar.

SettingsStatusbarShow RA/Dec Field

Toggle display of the mouse cursor's equatorial coordinates in the statusbar.

SettingsStatusbarShow J2000.0 RA/Dec Field

Toggle display of the mouse cursor's equatorial J2000 coordinates in the statusbar.

SettingsColor Schemes

This submenu contains all of the defined color schemes: Classic, Star Chart, Night Vision and Moonless Night. It can also include your custom color schemes. Select any item to set that color scheme.

SettingsFOV Symbols

This submenu lists the available field-of-view (FOV) Symbols. The FOV Symbol is drawn at the center of the display. You may choose one or more from the list of predefined symbols (7x35 Binoculars, Telrad, One Degree, HST WFPC2 or 30m at 1.3cm) by checking their specific checkbox, or you may use no symbol by unchecking all the items from the symbols list. You can also define your own symbols (or modify existing symbols) using the Edit FOV Symbols... option.

SettingsArtificial Horizon

If you select this submenu, then Artificial Horizon Manager will be opened. Artificial Horizon Manager is used to define on the skymap one or more regions that are blocked from view from your current location (i.e. tall trees or building). The window is split in two sections: in the left side is the Regions section while in the right side is the Points section. You can add a new region by pressing the + (Add Region) button or you can remove a region by selecting it in the regions list and then pressing the - (Remove Region) button. In order to draw a region you need to define a list of points that encompasses the blocked area. You can add a new point by pressing the + (Add Point) button from the right Points section. You can also remove a highlighted point from the list of points or you can clear all the points. There are two ways to add a new point to a selected region: manually by entering the point's coordinates or by selecting the point from the skymap after clicking Select Points button. Note that each point is described by a set of horizontal coordinates: Az (Azimuth) and Alt (Altitude). If you want to modify a point's coordinates, just double click on its Az/Alt text box value and enter the new value. First and Last points must be on the horizon. Polygons must be closed to be considered valid regions. Artificial Horizon Manager provides a easy way to rename your regions. By default, regions are named as: Region plus an index (i.e. Region 1 or Region 2). For renaming a region, just double click on its name and then you will be invited to complete a new region name. You can also control which regions are enabled or disabled for marking on the map by a simple click on the checkbox in front of each region. After you defined your desired regions you can apply them by pressing the Apply button. If you want to use these regions again, in further astronomy sessions, you can save them such that next time when you will open KStars they will be automatically marked on the skymap.

SettingsConfigure Observation LoggingList your Equipment (Ctrl+0)

Allows you to define your equipment characteristics for observation logs. The Configure Equipment window is divided into four tabs: Telescope, Eyepiece, Lens and Filter. You can add a new equipment by completing its characteristics and pressing Add New... button. You can also save or remove an equipment from the list.

SettingsConfigure Observation LoggingManage Observer (Ctrl+1)

Selecting this will open Manage Observers window that enables you to register a number of observers which are using KStars on this computer. You can add a new entry to observers list by completing the mandatory fields: Name and Surname and then pressing the + (Add observer) button. Note that Contact field is optional, KStars allowing you to add a new observer even though Contact text box is empty. You can also remove an observer from the list using - (Remove observer) button.

SettingsGeographic (Ctrl+G)

Select a new geographic location.

SettingsConfigure KStars

Modify configuration options.

SettingsConfigure Shortcuts

Open the Configure Shortcuts window which allows you to modify KStars shortcuts. You can use KStars default shortcuts scheme or define your own shortcuts scheme. In order to add a new custom shortcut to an action, you need to click on action's name and then press the Custom checkbox. Then click on the button next to Custom checkbox and enter the shortcut you would like to use in KStars. You can also remove a shortcut by pressing the Delete button after you select an action from the list. KStars helps you to find an action by providing its search method; just enter the name of the action and the list will be reduced to its best matches. For example, I will give you a brief example on how to use KStars Configure Shortcuts feature:

  • Firstly, open the Configure Shortcuts window from the Settings menu.

  • Then select the action you would like to add a shortcut (i.e. Artificial Horizon). You can use the search method provided by KStars. Just type art in the search text box and the list will be reduced to only four actions. The Artificial Horizon is the first action in the list.

  • Now that you find your desired action, you can add a new shortcut by clicking on its name. After you click on the action name, press the Custom checkbox. There is a button next to Custom checkbox used for adding new shortcuts. By default, if an action has no custom shortcut, the None tag will be assigned to this button. Press this button and then add your custom shortcut. For example, for Artificial Horizon, you can use Ctrl+H shortcut. Hold the Ctrl key and press H. Your shortcut be automatically saved, thus you can use it next time when you open KStars.

SettingsConfigure KStars...

Modify configuration options.

SettingsStartup Wizard

By selecting the Startup Wizard... submenu, the Setup Wizard window will pop up. It is the same window that you saw when you ran KStars for the very first time. KStars Setup Wizard will help you set up some basic options, such as your location on Earth. The first page of Setup Wizard is a welcome page and if you press Next button, you will get the Choose Your Home Location page. Here you can select your exact home location or a city near your home location if your accurate location is not present in KStars cities database. Browsing the entire list is not so efficient and thus, KStars provides you a easy-to-use method for selecting your desired city in a short time. You may filter the list of cities by the name of your city, province and country. By giving more details about your location, the list's size will reduced only to its best matches. When you highlight a city in the cities list, the Longitude and Latitude boxes will be updated, containing the accurate information of your selected location. When you hit the Next button, you will get the last page of KStars Setup Wizard: Download Extra Data Files page. Here you may download optional data files via the Internet, in order to enhance KStars, such as Messier object images, or a more complete NGC/IC catalog. Press the Download Extra Data button to proceed. After you pressed the Download Extra Data button, the Get Hot New Stuff window will appear. It is KStars Add-On Installer, which will help you to manage what extra information you added to KStars. Firstly, you can choose how the add-ons list is displayed, by pressing the Details view mode or Icons view mode button. You may also order the list by various criteria like: newest, rating, most downloads or installed. This can be easily done by selecting an option using the radio button. You can also make searches using the Search: text box. Regarding the list of add-ons, you may perform several actions by selecting an add-on from the list: you can install or uninstall an add-on using the Install / Uninstall button, you can open the Details window using the Details button or you can rate an add-on by giving a number of gold stars, up to five stars. If you want to send an email to the author of an add-on, you are able to do that by clicking on his e-mail address. Then, your default e-mail application will guide you through the sending process. After you managed your KStars add-ons, then you can close the window by pressing the Close button. You can also use the Download Extra Data Files tool later, by selecting DataDownload New Data....

Additionally KStars has the common KDE Settings and Help menu items, for more information read the sections about the Settings Menu and Help Menu of the KDE Fundamentals.

Help Menu

KStars has the common KDE Help menu item, for more information read the section about the Help Menu of the KDE Fundamentals.

Popup Menu

The right click popup menu is context-sensitive, meaning its content varies depending on what kind of object you click on. We list all possible popup menu items here, with the relevant object type [in brackets].


Identification and type: The top one to three lines are devoted to the name(s) of the object, and its type. For stars, the Spectral Type is also shown here.


Rise, Transit, and Set times for the object on the current simulation date are shown on the next three lines.


Center & Track: Center the display on this location, and engage tracking. Equivalent to double-clicking.


Add flag...: Open KStars Flag manager window. Here you can manage your flags and use some of KStars features. When Flag manager window is open for a selected object, Right ascension and Declination text boxes will be automatically filled with the coordinate values of the selected object on the Sky Map. Besides these two text boxes, you can set the Epoch, add a Label, set the Label color or even add an Icon. To add custom icons, just add images in `qtpaths --paths GenericDataLocation`/kstars/. File names must begin with the flag keyword. For example, the file flagSmall_red_cross.gif will be shown as Small red cross in the combo box. After you set up the information of the new flag, you can add it to the flags list using the Add button. You may also change flags details (i.e. RA/Dec, label or icon) and then save the new ones by pressing the Save changes button. Using the Flag manager, you can easily center an object in Map or in Telescope, by pressing Center in Map or Center in Telescope button. In order to delete a value from the list, just select it in the list and then press Delete button. Your flags are saved after you close current session and thus you will be able to see them everytime you will use KStars again.


Angular Distance To...: Enter "angular distance mode". In this mode, a dotted line is drawn from the first target object to the current mouse position. When you click with the right mouse button on a second object, this will display the angular distance between the two objects near the second object. You can press the Esc key to exit angular distance mode without measuring an angle.


Starhop from here to: will enable you to find a path between two points in the sky. Star hopping is a technique that uses bright stars as a guide for finding fainter objects. So if you have a bright star, you can use it as a reference to find a fainter object. Starting from your reference star, KStars will find a route to the destination, traversing a sequence of stars/patterns of stars. The object for which you called Starhop from here to tool will be your starting point. When your starting point is established, a dotted line will appear, allowing you to decide which will be your end point. You have to move the mouse cursor to your destination object position and right click on it. Then, a dialog box will pop up, requiring you to set the FOV used for star hopping. For selecting a FOV, you need to make a choice from the FOV combo box list of values. The values you can choose include default FOV values (7x35 Binoculars, Telrad, One Degree, HST WFPC2 and 30m at 1.3cm) plus your customized FOVs. After you selected the FOV, KStars will find a route for you. Thus, the dialog box will contain a list of object used in the starhop. If KStars did not manage to find a route, then an error dialog box will be displayed, giving you a helping hand. When the Star-Hopper algorithm ends, the dialog box will contain a list of objects used in starhop route. For every object from the list, you can perform a set of actions: you can ask for details using the Details button, center selected object in the map using Center on map button or you can go to next star by pressing the Next button. Note that when go to next star, it will be automatically centered on the map. Also, Star-Hopper tool provides directions to star hop for every object of the list.


Details: Open the Object Details window for this object.


Attach Label: Attach a permanent name label to the object. If the object already has a label attached, this item will read Remove Label.


Add to Observing WishList: Add the selected object to Observation Planner's Wish List. You can see the Wish List, by selecting ObservationObservation Planner. If the object is already in the Observing WishList, then this item will become Remove Label.

[Solar system objects]

Add Trail: Add a trail to current Solar system object. A star trail is the continuous path created by the star in the night sky due to the rotation of the Earth. If the object already has a trail, this item will become Remove Trail.


Simulate eyepiece view: Eyepiece View feature renders the view through the eyepiece of various telescope types. Firstly, an input dialog is shown, which asks you to select one of the visible FOVs to use as a FOV for the eyepiece view. The user also has the option of trying to determine it from the image (accurate if image has metadata, otherwise it will be random). After you set the FOV, the "Eyepiece Field View" window will pop up. You can easily rotate the view using the "Rotation" slider. You can also flip and invert the view to help match the view through a telescope/camera. "Eyepiece view" tool can help you locate many objects with ease, instead of trying to work with relative positions and relative orientations. This is an important advantage, especially when you are star hopping. Note that for getting best results, time must be synced with current time in KStars, and KStars must be in horizontal coordinates mode.

[Solar system objects]

Image Resources: gives a list of image links for current Solar system object. The images are displayed in KStars Image Viewer tool. Image Viewer tool allows you to invert the colors and save the image in your computer.

[Solar system objects]

Information Resources: gives a list of documentation links for current Solar system object. The links are opened in your default browser.

[All objects without Solar system objects]

Show SDSS Image: download a SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) image of the object from the Internet, and display it in the Image Viewer tool.

[All objects without Solar system objects]

Show DSS Image: download a DSS (Digitized Sky Survey) image of the object from the Internet, and display it in the Image Viewer tool.