World Sunlight Map

Watch the sun rise and set all over the world on this real-time, computer-generated illustration of the earth's patterns of sunlight and darkness. The clouds are updated daily with current weather satellite imagery.

Known as a plate carrée or equirectangular projection, this map is one way of looking at the spherical Earth as a flat map. Though it distorts area, shape, and angles, it is often used in computer applications because the X and Y axis map directly to latitude and longitude. Compare this with Mercator, Peters, or Mollweide projection maps.

Also available is a semi-realistic view of dawn and dusk from far above the Earth, a look at the moon, and information about how this works.