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Forum » SpaceEngine » Feedback and Suggestions » Earth Suggestions (To improve even further the appearance of our planet on SE)
Earth Suggestions
FastFourierTransformDate: Monday, 27.07.2015, 22:29 | Message # 1
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I usually don't create new threads but I think this may have the importance to make it smile

Here we can make suggestions for the improvement of Earth's appearance in Space Engine and earthly phenomena. Many ideas would be usefull also for implementation in other worlds probably.

I have many suggestions to make Earths orbital view even more accurate and jaw-dropping so I will post these on this thread periodically.

My first suggestion:

Different Light Colours on the night side and light sources from overseas human activity

Well, the idea is as follows: on SE we recently have the adition of city lights in the night side of Earth. The feature is awesome and the map is accurate, but there's something that would make a difference in realism only by retouching little things.

In general night side lights are of a yellowish colour as depicted by SE. That's because cities have a lot of orange sodium vapor light sources like London. The fact is that in Japan they don't noramally use this kind of illumination, insted they make cities shine with a blue-green glow coming from mercury-vapor lights as you can see in this picture of Tokio. Sao Paolo demonstrates the differences quite well because the street illumnation of the old part of the city uses marcury-vapor while the rest glows orange-yellow. The difference is quite noticiable, in fact astronauts at the ISS say that when they see green city lights they inmediately know the orbit is over Japan. There are also a lot of cities in the world that have great abbundance of metal-halide street lights, like Dubai. All these differences in light color (orange-yellow, green-blue and white) are clearly visible from space and make the night side of Earth quite interesting.

Here you can see different light colors in one picture taken by expedition 37. The right part is Japan with a greenish glow, the left side is Korea with its yellow glow and in the middle (this connects with the next issue I want to focus) you have the lights of many many fishing boats (they use xenon light bulbs to attract plankton during the night so they can atract in that way more squids and capture them). You can see how the squid fishing rivals with the city lights as seen from space in that bluish color of xenon light bulbs:

I recomend to click the image to see the high resolution version that enables a more precise comparison of the colors


Now I want to show you a spectacular light source.
There is a very bright green glow on the Gulf of Thailand every night as seen from space. Here you have two pictures taken by different expeditions



As you can see, the bright green light nearly outshines Bankok (that by the way is a white light city because of the metal-halide street lamps). The view is spectacular and should be included one day in Space Engine. The green light comes from squid fishing boats of Thailand (they use green lights to atract their plankton in the gulf) with their high power LEDs.


From the coast the sky shines green because of the intensity:


In the seas of Japan and Taiwan (the case of this image) the fishing boats use only blue lights so the fishing activity from space looks like this

In this picture you can also see that Taiwan has green cities in contrast with the Chinesse city lights (yelow and white).

Here you have another view from ISS of the blue glow of fishing in the south sea of China


These lights come from fishing boats, also in southeast Asia. The astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this image (in this case I don't know the extension of the glow because this image was probably taken by zooming a lot):


In NASA's Black Marble you can see the distribution of fishing boats in the chinese seas. This image is quite astonishing. Armed with GPS the boats fish only in the allowed areas creating spectacular cuts in light distributions.


Here you have the inverse-Y shaped usual distribution of fishing boats in the south seas of Argentina (even through months they shape remains constant so it would be accurate to depict this in Space Engine)

And here you have an image (maybe usefull for mapping pourposes) of the bright green lights of the gulf of thailand that we have seen

Here you have another image of fishing boats distribution around Korea and Japan for making a map of this lights

So in general my earthly suggestion of the week is to add different colors and bright intensities to city lights (gree, yellow, white, reddish...) and the addition of those spectacular green lights from fishing boats in Thailand, those blue lights from fishing in south China and Korea, and other fishing lights of the globe (Argentina, North European seas etc...). Space Engine is getting inmensely better every release, with this kind of realism the Earth render will be far from anything that has been done in computer graphics. Step by step one day I hope it will show the spectacle that ISS's astronauts view each orbit.


Edited by FastFourierTransform - Tuesday, 28.07.2015, 00:36
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Tuesday, 28.07.2015, 12:49 | Message # 2
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Color light maps for Earth are already made, but grayscale was chosen because of its reduced memory usage, and because the difference to most people would be subtle at best. A color one was supposed to be available as an official addon, but somehow the grayscale one was put up.

I adapted an excellent one made by John van Vliet, but 1) my internet is way too slow to upload such a massive map, and 2) the lights he added to represent fires are so large and low-res that they (IMO) ruin the look of the map.





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FastFourierTransformDate: Tuesday, 28.07.2015, 21:57 | Message # 3
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Quote HarbingerDawn ()
I adapted an excellent one made by John van Vliet, but 1) my internet is way too slow to upload such a massive map, and 2) the lights he added to represent fires are so large and low-res that they (IMO) ruin the look of the map.


Wow that's amazing. Great news. I would be very glad to see that map.
The color differences are subtle maybe in cities but the green in the Gulf of Thailand and the Blue in the Chinese seas are quite extreme. Even in the case of cities the subtle difference would be sufficient in my opinion to break the homogenuity.
Thanks for answering HarbingerDawn smile
 
SnowfallDate: Sunday, 02.08.2015, 23:35 | Message # 4
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I would say lightning storms would be a lovely one to see smile could be used for other planets too! little flashes of light in the clouds at night. ^^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6RxE-f2iyQ




sorry for my dyslexia.

never stop imagining beautiful things.
 
aaaDate: Monday, 03.08.2015, 06:35 | Message # 5
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I found this very interesting and hope an addon gets made for this. Maybe make it a part of the bigger solar system improved texture pack addon? I find the main engine being simple and accessible for users with slower computers or who only want a rudimentary trip around the solar system once or twice an important aspect, so putting it into an addon sounds better. Personally I haven't looked at Earth or the solar system much since I first started playing biggrin too much other stuff to look at!
 
FastFourierTransformDate: Wednesday, 05.08.2015, 13:44 | Message # 6
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So, this week I bring you another Earth suggestion for Space Engine.
If you see Earth on SE, you will soon notice that the water of the sea has only one colour (a deep blue) absolutely homogeneus over the entire globe. There's an exception: the Bahamas, where the white sand and the low deepth of the sea-floor makes water to have a spectacular turquoise appereance. The homogenuity of color and albedo of the oceans is crearly visible when we turn off the clouds (just a blue sphere). This is a realistic view of our planet but we could increase realism by adding some phenomena that change the aspect of those blue oceans.

So the suggestion is as follows:

Albedo and Color variations on Earth's water bodies due to algae, plankton blooms and motion of sediments

Seasonaly Lake Eire (one of the Great Lakes of North America) gets covered in a bloom of toxic algae that make his color appearance as seen from space to change from blue to green and display a beautifull system of swirls and all kind of inhomogenuities.



This is an interesting space view of the Great Lakes where you can clearly see (this is visible light) lake Eire algae (green tint). As you see, also the other lakes have some swirls and inhomogenuities but they are turquoise insted of green. What are they? Plankton blooms.


From August to September, Lake Michigan changes entirely the water color because of a burst of reflecting cells and microrganisms called plankton. Here you can see the progression (click the image to see a better example).


So this is important as to be added in Space Engine; those color and albedo variations are large scale (so, you could find them easily when viewing Earth) and their colors are different deppending on the density of algae or plankton and wich of those the bloom is (as you have seen in the image of the great lakes, the color of algae is clearly different from that of the plankton bloom).

But there's another reason that could change the color aspect of large water bodies: moving sediments. Also in the Lake Michigan there is a routinely display of brown and green plumes and swirls due to clay and sand floating near the surface. The sediments can come from the floor of the lake in some cases and not only from intrusions from the coast.



More sediments can be seen here entering the Caspian Sea from the Volga River delta over the autumn


A misc of sediments (brown) and plankton bloom (bluer) appear in the Yellow Sea every year (Korea at the right)


Even sediments inyected into Europe's North Sea by the Rhin and Thames rivers can be seen from space periodically (giving that bronish colour)


Now I will show you that plankton blooms are not confined to lakes and small areas but are visible all around the globe and are quite large scale color structures as seen from orbit (click the images to see them in beautifull high-res):

- North America blooms


- North European Blooms


- Other parts of Earth


As explained here, the blooms of plankton can appear and dissapear in a matter of days or weeks. And they are seasonaly in most regions. To me, the plankton blooms looks totally like some cloud textures SE generates procedurally on Gas Giants. Maybe this could be easily added (as a texture that changes at different times creating blooms and destroying them in specific locations gradually).
It's interesting that the differences in color of the blooms reveal the different plankton species that are mixing in the oceans.

We are not used to see our planet from space and that is the reason that this kind of things doesn't bother us when we see a movie or a simulation. But Earth is more majestic and beautifull than we imagine. Space Engine, as a realistic and scientifically rigouros software, needs to add this kind of phenomena; they are clearly visible from orbit and therefore it has to be added sooner or later.

See you next week with annother earth suggestion victory


Edited by FastFourierTransform - Friday, 07.08.2015, 11:51
 
n0b0dyDate: Wednesday, 05.08.2015, 15:10 | Message # 7
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These are all very nice and good suggestions but until procedural augmentation of the terrain is implemented I can't see it happening in the nearby future - though I hope I am proven wrong smile
 
FastFourierTransformDate: Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 11:40 | Message # 8
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New Earthly suggestion for Space Engine! one that has been proposed in the past without further explanaition.
So let's start

Air Glow, with corresponding colors and inhomogeneities



The upper parts of our atmosphere glow with a faint yellow, blue, green and red tint because of different light emission phenomena.
The airglow color and intensity varies with composition and concentration of chemicals that also vary with height;

· Yellow airglow (from 80 km to 105 km) (emission from excited Na)
When meteors vaporize on the atmosphere they become a source of inmense ammounts of sodium atoms. The Sodium in this part of the atmosphere is generally in an excited state so they tend to emmit photons with energies in the sodium D lines of the spectrum. This means that this layer emmits yellow light (around the wavelengts of 589 nm).
The emmision for sodium atoms is very intense but there is little abundance of it so the yellow glow is faint (but visible from space). This makes me wonder, could there be planets with sufficiently high concentrations of sodium as to make this yellow glow spectacular enough? maybe in the late bombardment meteors filled the atmosphere with sodium as to make the yellow glow quite noticiable (as to change the apperance of earth from space)?
The yellow glow goes from 80 km to 105 km of height, with a particular intensity at a layer located in the 95 km





· Red airglow I (from 86 km to 87 km) (vibrational modes emmision of OH radicals)
This band is extremely thin (1 km) and glows with little intensity so it is merely a hue in the overlapping yellow glow. The OH molecules can vibrate in many different ways and they emmit light in the red part of the spectrum when those vibrations jump to lower energy states.

· Green airglow I (from 90 km to 100 km) (O and N recombination)
Nitrogen and Oxigen make the 99% of our planets atmosphere so its obvious that the emissions of this atoms and compounds, even if faint, buil up to bright glows.
At a 10 km thick layer 90 km above the sea level the oxigen atoms combine to form nitric oxide (NO), this recombination generates a light emission in the 558 nm line of the spectrum (green).

· Green airglow II (from 95 km to 100 km) (emmision form excited O)
The excited oxigen atoms can lower their energy levels with a green light emission. The de-excitation needs a certain amount of time. Below the 95 km line, the density of molecules is high enough to make collisions between them happen in very short amounts of time. If an excited oxigen atom gets smacked before it can emit light then the energy can be transfered to the other molecule (in vibrational and rotational modes) and therefore no light emmision is required for the excited oxigen atoms to release the excess of energy. Is only above this part of the atmosphere that the collisions become so less frequent as to allow the de-excitation of oxygen before it encounters another molecule. This is the brightest emmision of all of the airglows. It can be clearly seen with the naked eye from space over the night side. and it corresponds to the bright green line of the airglow spectrum:



· Blue airglow (at 95 km) (recombination of oxigen to O2)
This is the faintest glow of all the colors of the airglow, but in certain situations it becomes visible. When two oxigen atoms combine to form molecular oxigen they always emmit residual energy in the blue light part of the spectrum. Because of the overlapping of this layer with the much more intense green layer it is difficult to spot the bluish glow in the images taken from space but here is an example


· Red airglow II (from 100 km to 300 km) (emmision from excited O)
Atomic oxygen can get excited in many ways. In one of those the de-excitation occurs from the very high energy levels to low ones thus emmitting green (Green airglow II). But the oxygen atoms can get lesser excited so when the excitation "goes out" a photon is emmited with less energy, thus "redder". The light emmited by this lower excitation of the atomic oxygen generates a red glow that can be visible from space.
As in the Green airglow II, the oxygen de-excitation takes some time. In the case of those relatively high excited oxigen atoms (those emmiting green) the time needed for the emmision is short enough as to prevent any collisions in the meanwhile (that could dissipate energy in other forms). The same thing happens with this kind of lower excitation of the Oxygen, only that the times needed for the atoms to emmit red photons are around 110 seconds!! So, for them to emmit red light it is needed an enviroment with so low density as to allow a free path (without collisions) for more than two minutes. This low density enviroment is encountered at 100 to 300 km. The red emission is bright but the concentration of oxygen is so low at those altitudes that the overall glow is quite ethereal (but still visible with the naked eye).



· Red airglow III (from 150 km to 300 km) (chemiluminescence of excited OH radicals)
When O3 (ozone) chemically interacts with single hidrogen atoms it generates O2 and an OH excited molecule. This excited OH radicals diminishes his overdose of energy emitting in the red band of the visible spoectrum. This glow adds up to the previous red glow.

Some of the airglow bands explained here are visible and would change a lot the appearence of Earth in Space Engine. The most noticiable glows are the green, yellow and red ones (much less than green).
Here you can see the Red glow (first image) and the green glow (the other three) from the ground in sufficiently high exposure photographs:


As you can see, they present inhomogeneities. The pic of Yosemite shows clearly the tiger strips pattern. It is known that atmospheric gravity waves propagating from the lower atmosphere modulate the atmospheric density, temperature and composition at airglow altitudes and thus the airglow intensity. In the case of the green this is not noticiable for Space Engine purposes, but the red inhomogeneities are clarly visible from space so they should be attended.

The brightness of the green glow is enormous. From the surface of Earth it's quite difficult tu see because it glows faintly and only at low angles from the horizon the atmospheric depth is sufficiently big as to add up to visible amounts. The problem is that, for the same reason, at low angles from the horizon, the atmosphere blocks a lot of the incoming light so the glow is rarely visible. But from space, instead, the Earths horizon can glow with sufficient power and the upper atmosphere has so low density that the incoming light dosen't dimish its intensity.
In this image you can compare the intensity of the green glow with the city lights of Spain


Here's an image with a beautifull view of the cupola attached to the ISS. The image has a long exposure so I diminished it with photoshop (not absolutely accurate) to see what it may look like in real life (consider that Space Engine can enhance the brightness of things changing the magnitude controls so it should be visible also brightly if you can see many stars simultaneusly):


As you can see it's quite bright. Earth is 10 times more illuminated by stars and airglow than by stars alone.
There are also differences form day to night. The exciment of molecules and atoms by the UV light coming from the Sun makes the atmosphere glow 1000 times brighter in the day side than in the night side. The problem here is that in the day the scattered sunlight makes imposible to see the glow anywhere.
It is know also that the intensity of the airglow varies with the solar 11 year cycle so there are situations where this phenomenon can become quite noticiable.

Maybe there are exoplanets out there whose atmospheric compostion and stellar radiation enviroment make this airglow much more evident, as to brighten the night skies ect... So this feature would be awesome when Space Engine comes to the level of calculating atmospheric density, composition and glow for other planets.


Edited by FastFourierTransform - Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 11:53
 
Destructor1701Date: Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 14:12 | Message # 9
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Great suggestions, and overall an extremely interesting post!

Quote n0b0dy ()

These are all very nice and good suggestions but until procedural augmentation of the terrain is implemented I can't see it happening in the nearby future - though I hope I am proven wrong


Well, Earth's ocean isn't any different in the engine from an ocean on any other planet. Just a sea level radius sphere with a couple of shuffling superimposed water textures. Procedural textures could be applied. The problem may lie in coding the interaction between the coast lines and the plankton/algal/sedimentary blooms... But perhaps they could be generated right along with the terrain topography...





 
quarior14Date: Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 14:47 | Message # 10
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I also suggest if we could put the climate of the Earth (and also on other planets like Mars and procedural).
I specify as good as that does not happen on Earth immediate way but if a water planet possess approaches its star or away, this impacts on the water level decreases dice it close (and see the ice floes and fondend snow, the desert is expanding) and the contrary when it recedes, the water freezes (ice and snow returns). I do not know if it's possible to do this.





Quarior

Edited by quarior14 - Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 18:05
 
FastFourierTransformDate: Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 15:42 | Message # 11
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Quote Destructor1701 ()
Great suggestions, and overall an extremely interesting post!

Thank you a lot. Its a pleasure to hear this from a great user like you (and form everyone obviosuly biggrin )

Quote quarior14 ()
also suggest if we could put the climate of the Earth (and also on other planets like Mars and procedural).

I think this would be great. It has been proposed many times, also with seasonal variations. It looks like this kind of features would have to come in the far future of SE's developement as has been replied in other sections of this forum. Dynamical changes are quite complex. But things lke color city lights or sea blooms are fairly easy to implement in my opinion (maybe the suggestion of the airglow is more difficult). I would like to hear Space Engineer about the suggestions of this thread because it would be awesome to have this kind of ultrarealism for Earth (and maybe exporting some of this features to other planets).
 
zeroingDate: Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 16:10 | Message # 12
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We are hoping to achieve cloud projection, so it looks just like reality no difference
 
quarior14Date: Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 18:21 | Message # 13
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I forgot also the weather (I searched, it results but I did not notice what I mean).
Surely you've heard suggestions I think the weather (storms, rain, wind, tornadoes ...) is good but is what they are static?
On Earth (and on another planet (procedural or not)), it would be nice to attend a cloud formation and after it rains and wind gusts (there is an example of such a planet Terra) and after review the good weather return with the disappearance of the cloud.
So what I suggest to Earth (if possible if the owners of weather satellites are in agreement) for the clouds of the Earth and aurora on live (it can also have another planet but to my knowledge, he has no other meteorological satellite on another planet), and also off subject but linked with the aurora, solar storms and solar surface on live for the Sun but after that will be procedural for other stars.
Certainly it's going a little further because it seems that Space Engine will also do weather forecasting and solar storms, but I think it could be used (but probably will need an Internet connection) though are main goal and that I love is to explore the Universe.

(Sorry for the bad English, it's Google Translation.)





Quarior

Edited by quarior14 - Wednesday, 16.09.2015, 18:24
 
Destructor1701Date: Thursday, 17.09.2015, 01:19 | Message # 14
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Quote FastFourierTransform ()
Thank you a lot.


¡De nada, hombre!

Quote FastFourierTransform ()
Its a pleasure to hear this from a great user like you (and form everyone obviosuly biggrin )


Oh, you! rolleyes





 
ursadesignDate: Sunday, 27.09.2015, 11:42 | Message # 15
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How about; the ability to "disable" water and see the geological features of the oceans?

Added (27.09.2015, 11:42)
---------------------------------------------
How about; the ability to "disable" water and see the geological features of the oceans?

 
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