World Sunlight Map in Google Earth

Automatically updates every 30 minutes, real-time clouds, and disappears when you zoom in.
Day Night and Clouds in Google EarthOne of my goals in life has always been to see the Earth from space. That’s why I’ve been fascinated with add-ons for Google Earth with let you overlay clouds or better-looking views of the Earth. I noticed Gerardo (who translates for the spanish version of Google Earth Blog) had found an automatically refreshing image which shows current day/night views of the Earth and adds in current real-time clouds of the Earth. The image comes from Die.Net. Gerardo created an image overlay for GE which showed that image and automatically refreshes (every 30 minutes).
I took this idea one step further and added some KML that makes the image automatically disappear as you zoom in closer. Load the resulting World Sunlight Map for Google Earth . This way, you can still see Google Earth’s normal imagery, but keep the more realistic view available when you zoom out for a view from space! Save the file in your “My Places” folder and keep it turned on if you want this view always available.
The image shows both day/night sides of the Earth. The night side shows lights of cities as seen from space. Also, there is an overlay of current clouds (updated every three hours). The day shots are courtesy of NASA’s Blue Marble Imagery. The night shots also come from NASA – the Earth’s City Lights collection. The clouds come from xplanet and show the current clouds around the Earth updated every 3 hours.
The resulting combined image was composited together and is available at Die.Net.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Not too bad, the Northpole’s not covered, though.

  2. Why not just turn on the cloud layer and enable sunlight shading in Google Earth (View|Sun)?

  3. This is great, but the blue marble image appears really low-res. It would be much better with a high resolution blue marble.

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