OSXplanet - Display planetary desktop images

Apr 13, '05 09:59:00AM

Contributed by: robg

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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