Okay, what a difference 4 years can make...
I figured I'd update my wallpaper contribution with an updated mesh, using updated software. Still rendered with Blender (now version 2.42a) - however the planet is now a mesh as well (instead of using a background image).
The mesh was made originally in LightWave 3D by Dennis Bailey but converted into a Blender3D native file by myself.
As always, feedback is welcomed. Hope folks out there like it.