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The Many Moons of Google Earth

A Google Earth add-on containing 34 real scale 3D models of the largest natural satellites in the Solar System crammed around Google Earth. 😉

34 Moons in Google Earth (4.5MB)

Why have I done this? Well, think of it as an interactive 3D size comparison chart, contrasting the size of the Earth with every moon greater than 100km diameter.

The video gives a quick fly through:

Clicking on the icons (not shown in the video) displays basic information for each moon, plus links to images in the Nasa/JPL image library and Wikipedia articles.

Wherever possible the models use real photo maps for textures, and for the non-spherical bodies, accurate shape files – details of where these come from are listed below. To put the models together I used the techniques outlined in these two earlier posts.

Textured globe models
Martian system in Google Earth


Texture Maps

  • Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto – created by Björn Jónsson
  • Epimetheus, Amalthea, Janus, Hyperion, Proteus – Phil Stooke
  • Triton – distributed under a GNU General Public License (GPL) as part of the Celestia source code.
  • Mimas*, Miranda*, Tethys*, Dione*, Ariel*, Umbriel*, Oberon*, Titania*, Rhea* – USGS
  • Charon, Titan –  NASA/JPL/Seal
  • The Moon – Naval Research Laboratory
  • Enceladus*, Iapetus* – Courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute 

Shape files

  • Epimetheus, Amalthea, Janus, Hyperion, Proteus – Phil Stooke
  • Portia, Despina, Puck, Himalia, Galatea, Sycora, Larissa, Nereid and Dysnomia use various scaled and stretched versions of a generic model I created based on Phil Stooke’s Proteus.

* These images have had some additional tweaking and colourization in PSPro.

  1. db
    July 16th, 2007 at 07:53 | #2

    Great stuff. But what’s with the detailed surface imagery of Charon? I’m pretty sure there isn’t any!

  2. James
    July 16th, 2007 at 11:43 | #3

    db – yes, the Charon map is largely fictional… but comes with the NASA stamp of approval 🙂


  3. August 2nd, 2007 at 08:36 | #4


  4. January 8th, 2008 at 00:22 | #5

    you need to just show how many moons there are and not confuse us with that show(or what ever you call it).

  5. March 15th, 2008 at 12:27 | #6

    i am so crazy about space .i travel all world by google earth .com. i want any more web site like google earth .i would like to see more sitelight images in free cost .please help me .

  6. sandeep
    September 11th, 2008 at 03:09 | #7

    i like moons
    i m surprise after see that around over 34moons.

  7. Krwit
    November 13th, 2008 at 23:24 | #8

    I installed the many moons plugin. It installed right the first time with the moons and the surface texture showing. Every time I open Google Earth again and turn on the Many Moons they only show up as round spheres with no surface textures. I reinstalled the file again, the textures showed up, but when reopening Google Earth again I get the same results. Anyone know why I keep losing the surface texture maps?

  8. moony
    August 22nd, 2009 at 17:47 | #9

    1 – how to dis-able, not show moons,
    2 – how to remove this file

    I’ve uninstalled GE and deleted all files in remaining folders.
    Nothing else visible in control panel, shouldn’t be, for ‘a data’ file.

    But with reinstall it’s back and won’t go away.
    Will I have to reinstall OS to get it off the system??

  1. July 16th, 2007 at 09:43 | #1
  2. July 16th, 2007 at 12:12 | #2
  3. July 17th, 2007 at 13:58 | #3
  4. July 18th, 2007 at 12:29 | #4
  5. July 21st, 2007 at 02:06 | #5
  6. January 9th, 2008 at 03:04 | #6
  7. January 9th, 2008 at 22:26 | #7