3D renderings of Solar System bodies

The Earth is probably the most difficult planetary object to render properly. Not only is its appearance very well known so errors are harder to 'hide' but it is also very complicated compared to objects without an atmosphere or objects where the atmosphere is completely opaque. In addition there are various terrain types, vegetation, rocky and sandy areas, ice, and the oceans which are completely different from everything else and unique in the solar system. The clouds are also complicated to render, I'm using a single cloud layer in these renderings but I really need a cloud map with multiple cloud layers. So although I'm fairly happy with these renderings (in particular they are a huge improvement from the ancient, primitive renderings that were present here from 1998 to 2009) I'm not completely happy with them. As mentioned I need a better and higher resolution cloud map and my atmospheric model is still under development. Despite this I decided to replace everything because the old stuff really was too bad to keep it here.

All of the renderings of the Earth on this page were done using the highly realistic Blue Marble Next Generation texture maps.

The Earth/Moon system
moon_earth_c_s.jpg (2354 bytes) New The Moon and the Earth as they might look through small binoculars 15,000 km from the Moon and 400,000 km from the Earth. The field of view is 10°. The Moon has been brightened slightly relative to the Earth, in reality the Earth is much brighter than the Moon. moon_g_earth_s.jpg (1821 bytes) New The Earth from a distance of 405,000 km. The field of view is 20°. The far side of the Moon is remarkably different from the side facing the Earth, more heavily cratered and more uniform in brightness.
earth_moon_s.jpg (3620 bytes) A relatively distant narrow angle view showing the Earth together with the Moon in the far distance. The Moon reflects far less light than the Earth does; in reality it should be somewhat darker than depicted here. earth_global_s.jpg (6619 bytes) A global view of the Earth. The field of view is 25°.
earth_crescent_s.jpg (3028 bytes) If Mars is the Red Planet the Earth is the Blue Planet. With oceans covering approximately 70% of the surface blue color dominates. This rendering is centered on the Pacific Ocean; almost no solid surface is visible. earth_css_19990818_0319_s.jpg (10433 bytes) Back in August 1999 the Cassini spacecraft flew by the Earth en route to Saturn. This rendering shows it a few minutes before closest approach. The field of view is 45°.
earth_mediterr_s.jpg (5199 bytes) The Mediterranean in January from an altitude of 1900 km. The field of view is 40°. earth_january_crescent_s.jpg (4452 bytes) In this rendering Italy is visible at lower right with the snowy Alps to its north (left in the rendering). The faint reddish color on the limb near the top is the color associated with a sunrise.
earth_madagaskar_s.jpg (6377 bytes) A portion of the Indian Ocean from an altitude of 2600 km with Madagascar partially visible left of center. earth_july_s.jpg (9783 bytes) Northwestern Europe in July. Here the need for a better cloud map is obvious, I'm not too happy with this rendering.

All renderings are copyright © 2009 Björn Jónsson