[orthographic] [mercator]
xearth (version 1.1)

What is it?

Xearth sets the X root window to an image of the Earth, as seen from your favorite vantage point in space, correctly shaded for the current position of the Sun. By default, xearth updates the displayed image every five minutes. The time between updates can be changed using either X resource or a command-line option. Xearth can also be configured to either create and render into its own top-level X window or render directly into PPM or GIF files; see the man page for details.

New features

Version 1.1 of xearth includes several new features:

  • new position specifier (moon)
  • new rotation specifier (galactic)
  • cylindrical projections (-proj cyl)
  • support for "real" 24-bit displays
  • support for running xearth it its own top-level window (-noroot, -geometry)

Information about previous versions can be found in the HISTORY file that ships with the version 1.1 sources.

Where to get it?

A gzip-ed tar file containing sources for the latest-and-greatest version of xearth is available via anonymous ftp from either cag.lcs.mit.edu (xearth-1.1.tar.gz) or ftp.cs.colorado.edu (xearth-1.1.tar.gz) (154 kbytes).


Version 1.1 of xearth still has a copyright notice that reflects Unisys Corporation's patent on the LZW compression technique employed in the GIF file format.

Non-UNIX platforms

Several people have ported xearth to other platforms. These links are provided for reference purposes only: I had nothing to do with these ports, so if you've got questions about them, I probably can't help you.


Windows DESQview/X Acorn RISC OS BeOS