Until Ubuntu 15.10 it was possible to install Celestia (a real-time 3D space simulation), using apt:

sudo apt-get install celestia celestia-gnome celestia-common-nonfree

However, in Ubuntu 16.04, the package celestia no longer seems to exist. (apt-cache show celestia returns N: Can't select versions from package 'celestia' as it is purely virtual. The package celestia-common-nonfree does exist, but it's just a collection of data files, which don't conform to the DFSG, that are useless without the program itself.)

Looking upstream, it seems that the package celestia was removed from Debian unstable, before Ubuntu 16.04 entered feature freeze, which (assuming my very vague understanding of the interaction between Debian and Ubuntu is correct) is why it's no longer present in Ubuntu 16.04.

Considering that Celestia hasn't seen any development in the recent past, removing it seems a reasonable course of action. OTOH it's still stable and functional, so it seems a shame, especially if it's still possible to build it on a modern system.

Does this mean that the only way of installing Celestia on Ubuntu 16.04 is building from source?

  • Searching online had turned up only these two relevant results (1, 2), but they don't seem to have a solution. – aplaice Jun 1 '16 at 22:30
  • The package was removed due being bug ridden and upsteam not producing new bug fix release since 2011. – Braiam Jun 2 '16 at 3:43

I haven't tried it, but you can try to install it after downloading the package (and all its dependencies!) for Wily from here.

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  • I have tried it and confirm that this works! (Thanks!) – aplaice Jun 2 '16 at 1:07
  • 3
    Notice that celestia depends on several packages that are known for break backwards compatibility (libgtk) and this version can cause problems on the foreseeable future. – Braiam Jun 2 '16 at 3:45

Celestia development looks like it's started again. This is a compile from source process. With some more encouragement we may get some new binary installs happening.

Here you can find Linux build instructions and here you can download the source

I Installed the NAIF cspice from here as per above instructions.


just download, unpack and point to the location in the ./configure command below:

Tested on Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit.

sudo apt install qt4-dev-tools libqt4-dev 

Then cd to your downloaded/unpacked Celestia source, and ...

autoreconf -v -i # might need to run ? if configure fails 
./configure --prefix=/usr --with-lua --with-qt --with-cspice-dir=/YourInstallLocation/NGT/cspice

sudo make install


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  • Sanitised and upvoted! Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! ;-) – Fabby Jan 1 '17 at 11:26

The answer provided by dadexix86 works and if you want to check the checksums of the packages for security (since the packages aren't being installed by apt, their integrity is not automatically checked (I think)), it's probably best to do everything manually.

However, for a simple copy-paste solution, the following bash commands should do the job (assuming you have a 64-bit, standard, fresh Ubuntu 16.04 installation):


# common
sudo apt-get install liblua5.1-0
wget "${UBUNTU_MIRROR}"/celestia-common_1.6.1+dfsg-3_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i celestia-common_1.6.1+dfsg-3_all.deb

sudo apt-get install celestia-common-nonfree

# for celestia-glut
wget "${UBUNTU_MIRROR}"/celestia-glut_1.6.1+dfsg-3_amd64.deb
sudo apt-get install freeglut3
sudo dpkg -i celestia-glut_1.6.1+dfsg-3_amd64.deb

# for celestia-gnome
wget "${UBUNTU_MIRROR}"/celestia-gnome_1.6.1+dfsg-3_amd64.deb
sudo apt-get install libgtkglext1 libgnome2-0 libgnomeui-0
sudo dpkg -i celestia-gnome_1.6.1+dfsg-3_amd64.deb

This includes the dependencies (installed using apt from Xenial) and celestia-common-nonfree (also installed from Xenial).

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  • Note: when the relevant ubuntu releases (in particular 14.04) reach EOL, this method won't quite work, as the deb packages will also be removed from the main archive and its mirrors. http://old-releases.ubuntu.com will continue to contain the deb packages. I am deliberately not changing the UBUNTU_MIRROR variable in the script to point to the old-releases URL, as I don't think downloading from there should be automated. – aplaice Apr 20 '18 at 11:56
  • The "old" 1.6.1+dfsg-3.1 version of the packages (from Wily) is also present on old-releases.ubuntu.com. – aplaice Apr 20 '18 at 11:58

In this web page you can find an easy method to install celestia in Ubuntu 18.04. Basically you must execute the following line in the shell:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/simbd/Scripts_Ubuntu/master/Celestia_pour_Bionic.sh && chmod +x Celestia* && sudo ./Celestia*

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I just confirmed that this was successfully answered by this askubuntu:

Install Celestia on 18.04

You will have to install the packages that ketan-patel recommended

Additionally install some packages like cmake or other build applications as required and then follow the steps by ferroao

Here are the steps in full (again as required you may need to install other build packages as your system requires)

sudo apt install qtbase5-dev-tools qtbase5-dev libqt5opengl5-dev qtchooser libglu1-mesa-dev libpng-dev libjpeg-dev libtheora-dev liblua5.3-dev build-essential cmake libglew-dev libeigen3-dev libluajit-5.1-dev libgtk-3-dev libfmt-dev

# clone as in previous answer
git clone https://github.com/CelestiaProject/Celestia
cd Celestia && mkdir build && cd build

# install with cmake
cmake -o Makefile ../
sudo make install

#copy icon to system folder
sudo cp ../src/celestia/qt/data/celestia.png /usr/share/icons/hicolor/128x128/apps 

#make .desktop file
cat >$HOME/.local/share/applications/celestia.desktop <<'EOL'
[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Space simulator
Comment=Open source space simulator

and launch with the windows key or with:


For the record, I had to completely uninstall anaconda.

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You can download Celestia for linux on their website:


Good luck. I hope this helps you.

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