These spectacular panoramic views of Earth show the planet’s surface in exquisite clarity and detail. The images are as realistic as photographs, but they are not photographs. In fact, they are artificial landscapes, created by German graphics artist Christoph Hormann from real satellite data. By using clever computer software, Hormann has created images that are technically correct in all respects: the colours are the real colours of Earth, the perspectives are free of distortions, and the elevations are accurate to within a few metres. This is what Earth, stripped of clouds, pollution or atmospheric dust, really looks like.