Earth Rendering

I wanted to post a fun little project that I've been revisiting from time to time. A few years back I found a collection of high-resolution Earth textures, which I dropped onto a sphere and rendered what I thought was a pretty convincing planet. Every few months since then, I've pulled up the file, tweaked it a little, and rendered out a new version that's a little bit better than the last. My most recent attempts are the two large images at the bottom, but I'm sure I'll continue messing with this and see if I can't make it even better.

An early attempt, probably two years old.

A recent attempt from a few months ago.

Earth and Moon, daytime gibbous.

Earth and Moon, nighttime crescent. My personal favorite so far.