I had a pretty exciting night with planet generation. I was trying to come up with some clever math hacks to circumvent having to use a 3D noise function, but in the end gave up and defaulted to the standard cylindrically-wrapped-3D-noise-texture approach. The results are very nice, but take too long (~6 seconds per planet). I've been working on a super fast Perlin implementation, but I don't know if it will be applicable to the 3D case (because of the insane amount of memory it would require). In all, I'm excited about these visuals, but concerned about how sustainable they are if I'm unable to come up with a way to cut down on the computation time.
I also took my shader from the recent scattering study and improved it a bit, resulting in what seems to be an appealing (although completely unrealistic) atmosphere.
At the very least, I seem to have finally nailed the proper color gradients for an attractive Earth-like planet.