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OSXplanet - Display planetary desktop images Pick of the Week
OSXplanet icon The macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
This week's Pick has been sitting in my "apps to test" folder for quite a while ... quite a long while. OSXplanet is a program that replaces your standard desktop picture with dynamically updated images of Earth, the moon, or any of the other planets in the solar system. Although it's interesting looking at the other planets, the Earth images are what I found most intriguing. You can highlight cities of interest, and you can show clouds, storms, certain satellites, volcanos, and earthquakes overlayed on the image of Earth. There are a number of map projection styles (everyone remember their high school geography classes?) to choose from, too, including azimuthal, hemishphere, Mercator, orthographic, etc. I personally prefer Rectangular, as it fills the screen with a good overview of the entire planet. Night and day are indicated by a sweeping dark and light band, showing exactly where the current sunrise and sunset are located.

You can view any planet from a perspective of any other planet, or you can precisely set the viewpoint based on latitude and longitude, and you can control the zoom and rotation of the view as well. Finally, you set how often you'd like OSXplanet to update the maps; the default is every 30 minutes. OSXplanet is controlled via a menubar icon; click it to get to the Preferences, to force an update to the current view, read the documentation, and more.

I find OSXplanet an interersting diversion from my usual background imagery; I'll fire it up every couple of days and let it run while I work, just to see what's happening across the globe.
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OSXplanet - Display planetary desktop images
Authored by: Imaria on Apr 13, '05 04:43:54PM

I've been using this for a while...I've got an image on the moon from my exact lat/log, and it's quite nice.

I've discovered a zoom of 33% keeps the planet nicely sized on the desktop.

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OSXplanet - Display planetary desktop images
Authored by: platon on Apr 13, '05 07:09:07PM

I also tested OSXplanet, but my preferred background-app for years is still OSXearth, a port of the Unix's Xearth. I run Xearth since the days of MacOS 7.5 on my Mac and on Linux.
(Google for OSXearth, it isn't listed on Versiontracker nor Macupdate)

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OSXplanet - Display planetary desktop images
Authored by: stephenpen543 on Apr 14, '05 11:15:02AM

I like it, use it as my desktop bkground now.
I keep it on rectangular, I like watchin the sun moveacross the countries.

I ain't what I should be
I ain't what I will be
But I ain't what I was

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OSXplanet - Display planetary desktop images
Authored by: javalizard on Apr 21, '05 04:07:15PM
I prefer xSkyDesk. It is a more localized version of the "Earth as your desktop" idea. xSkyDesk puts you at your geolocation with the sky, sunsets, stars, and moon in their actual place. This way if I was to go outside, that is what I'd see!

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OSXplanet - Display planetary desktop images
Authored by: MirandaSoft on Dec 04, '06 01:44:50PM

During last week's typhoon activity in the Philippines, using OSXplanet allowed me to monitor the typhoon (every 5 minutes).

In my current configuration, I have maximum zoom set up on Philippines, since I am in Manila area, I am concerned about what weather patterns emerge in my area.

The imagery had impressed my inlaws because I was able to get a better view of the typhoon than any other resource, and besides, it is refreshed on my desktop.

MirandaSoft Computer Repair Shop [Pasig City, Philippines]
Formerly MirandaSoft Computer Services [Seattle, WA USA]

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