Earth Screen Saver for Windows

by John Walker
WWW Home page:

The Earth screen saver displays an image of the Earth as currently illuminated by the Sun, from a variety of viewpoints. You can view the Earth from the Sun (day side), the night side, from the Moon, or from an arbitrary altitude above any point on the globe specified by latitude and longitude. Day and night regions of the globe are shown based on the current date and time. The image of the Earth shifts location on the screen every 10 minutes to avoid burning in the phosphor in one location.

The Earth Screen Saver is available exclusively for 32-bit Windows systems such as Windows 95 and Windows NT.

The Earth Screen Saver is in the public domain. You can do anything you like with it. The images are generated based on a global topographic map developed by the Marine Geology and Geophysics Division of the National Geophysical Data Center operated by the United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Downloading and Installation

After you've downloaded the program archive, extract the files in it with PKUNZIP or a compatible archive extract program, and follow the instructions in the included README.TXT file to install, configure, and activate the screen saver on your system.

Home Planet

The Earth Screen Saver was developed based on Home Planet, a comprehensive Earth and sky simulator for Windows which displays the Earth, tracks satellites, asteroids, and comets, includes an extensible multimedia object catalogue, a simulated telescope for viewing the sky at any magnification or location, a database of more than a quarter million stars, and a complete hypertext help file and introduction to astronomy linked to the components of the program. Displays include the illuminated portion of the Earth, the Sky, the Telescope, the Earth as viewed from a satellite, the Moon, or the Sun, an orrery, panels displaying current information about the Moon and planets, and more. Real-time astronomical information can be exported to other applications via DDE. There's even a cuckoo clock (you can turn it off).

Related software on this site

Web resources:
Earth Viewer.
Solar System Live: interactive orrery.
Terranova: a new terraformed planet every day.

For Windows:
Home Planet,
an Excel catalogue of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey, and
Craters screen saver,
Sky screen saver,
Slide Show screen saver,
Bullets screen saver,
Millennium screen saver.

For Unix (X/OpenWindows):
Moontool and Xsunclock.

Source Code

Experienced C programmers who wish to modify the screen saver or simply look under the hood to see how it works may download the source code. You're welcome to use this source code in any way you like, but absolutely no support is provided for it--you're on your own.

by John Walker