Here’s a tutorial about a possible way to create planets and indeed Earth. I’ll briefly explain the main textures used and from then on go through the code step-by-step to explain what I did and why.
I had to tone down the size and fps, and leave out the bumpmap for this demo because my Opera browser was halting when I added the other images and clouds swf demo 😛
/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Planettutorial.swf, 500, 250
On my core 2 duo laptop I get about 20-25 fps whith a slightly larger stage size and the movie set to 30 fps. Although the planet looks very nice to me, I also realize it isn’t very practical for games or other realtime simulations. To get better fps, you can remove the bumpmap texture, replace the realtime clouds with a fixed texture, user fewer segments in the spheres, zoom out more, or use lower resolution textures for land- and cloud materials. A combination of two or more of these suggestions should easily get you above 35 fps.