Desktop Earth Turns Your Computer Into a Gorgeous Globe

desktop earth screen layout image

Migrated Image /

A very cool new download puts the whole world right on your desktop and in real time, shows where the sun is rising and setting. Using NASA's Blue Marble Next and Earth's City Lights, the download follows the earth's rotation and can be customized to even follow the way the planet looks as seasons change. Follow the moon, electric lights, or shadows, and track cloud cover, watching the world spin as you work. According to the developer, "Desktop Earth is a wallpaper generator. It will generate a high-resolution, accurate representation of the Earth."

DownloadSquad writes, "All the developer has done is grab a bunch of images from NASA and compiled them into a program that changes your wallpaper depending on the time of day and the season... But it gets better! It's configurable! You can vary the cloud coverage and which nighttime image to use (moonlit, city lights or simple shadow). You can also force the daytime image to show a specific month, or topographic (Earth's surface) and bathymetric (ocean floor) data."

How it impacts the energy use of your computer, I'm not sure, but odds are it ups it a bit. Still, if it keeps the earth's systems on the front burner of your mind, it might be worth a minute amount of extra battery power.

So far, it's only available for Windows, unfortunately. A Mac OS X version is in the works.