Live Wallpaper of the Earth from Space

(Windows only – Mac and Linux users, though, check out the Lifehacker link at the bottom – there’s similar things linked by people in the comments.)

This thing is excellent – it sits in your task tray (the bit with the clock in the bottom right of your screen, by default), and keeps updating your wallpaper, so it’s a view of the Earth from space, but updated live with light, dark, city lights, and clouds.

Well, not quite

  • It’s ‘map-style’ – flattened out like a map, not shown like a globe.
  • It’s not actually a live view, it’s a simulation, knowing where the sunlight will be at this time, with the map adjusted for the seasons, so the greenery should be about right.
  • Cloud view is only updated every three hours or less, so it’s not really live as such, but pretty close.

The result is that you can watch the sunset racing towards you during the day, and if you live somewhere small like the UK (hello), you can watch as your entire country vanishes from the map under cloud cover every couple of days. Great fun.

It also acts as a kind of instant visual time zone tracker. OK, it doesn’t actually tell you what time it is anywhere, but you can at least tell at a glance how far through the daylight it is.

Anyway, it’s quite splendid, so go here to get it…

Oh, and if you want the live clouds displayed, right click on the little icon it adds to the task tray, and select “Cloud updates…” – by default, it just makes them up.