The current superbloom can be seen from space. Here’s what to do if you can’t get to space this spring.

Antelope Valley Poppies
Mike Ostrovsky/Unsplash

Everyone knows that for a California desert superbloom to happen, you need a winter with mild temperatures and plenty of rain, neither of which happened during the state’s most recent cold, dry winter.

Luckily, everyone was wrong.

Although the outlook for wildflowers was bleak this year, a so-called Miracle March brought enough rain to trigger a surprise superbloom. Wildflowers, especially California poppies, are appearing in astounding numbers this month. In Southern California’s Antelope Valley, they are in fact so plentiful that they can be seen from space.

Courtesy of NASA

Most years, such a superbloom would trigger a rush of visitors, and most years, the public has to be reminded to tread lightly so as not to damage the flowers.

This year, though, we urge extra restraint, as it’s not just the health of the blooms that’s at stake, but our own health as well. The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 concerns, and it’s crucial that we respect that.

Luckily, there is an option. The parks system has set up a live stream with several different rotating vantage points that allow us to view the bloom safely. You can watch the hills turn every morning from seemingly barren brown into a blazing sea of orange. True, it’s not as dramatic as the view from 400 miles above Earth—but you don’t have to leave your house, either. (Or watch Instagrammers ruin it for everyone, which is pretty much priceless.)