Xplanet is a rendering program to produce a wide variety of views of the planets as well as the solar system. It emerged from an earlier Unix application called xearth. Originally it was intended to represent different views of the earth, including Tag-/Nacht-Seite updated with recent clouds as background image of the desktop (with X systems (Unix, Linux) X Window Rootfensters ).

Cartographic presentation

Means projections can Xplanet each planet of the solar system (usually the Earth ) are produced.

As examples, here are Mollweide (the earth as a whole), Mercator projection to name (the earth in a rectangular shape ), or orthographic projection (top view).

The program can set its own data, and surfaces are used for the planet. Even clouds are possible.

For the representation of the Earth - equidistant rectangular image material is used (width - length ratio 1:2 ) that at 0 degrees longitude is the image center / width. In addition to night, reflection, survey ( topography ) and cloud images are involved.

Planetary views

Xplanet can be used to compute general views of the solar system, such as the view from the moon to the earth, for a given time.

In current versions eclipses or the shadow of Jupiter's moons can be displayed on the planet.

Also the selection of other satellites such as the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle or the weather satellites of the NOAA series, as observer point is possible.


Xplanet runs under the operating system Unix, Linux, Windows, and Apple Macintosh.

The image produced can be used as wallpaper and also be stored along with detailed descriptions of the objects represented position.

The configuration takes place via the modification of text files. For a small Windows graphical user interface GUI exists called winXPlanetBG to simplify the configuration and download the latest cloud images. OSXplanet is the GUI for Mac OS X, Linux has a GUI with the name xplanetFX.

The accuracy of the expenditure can be increased by the use of current ephemeris data.

To Xplanet around various tools have been created in order to display additional information.