The fiery landscape of southern California is showing its true “superbloom” colors which has been captured by the satellites deployed by NASA’s Space Observatory. The space agency’s Operational Land Imager captured the orange-hued poppy blooms on April 14th in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, located near the tip of the Mojave Desert. Made by incorporating Landsat data from the US Geological Survey, the images show the gridded landscape northwest of Palmdale, California as if set ablaze by wildflowers. This was a result of the heavy rainfall that California gained during the March and April 2020. This spring, Lancaster received around 10.5 inches of rain- almost 4 inches above normal. “The extra rain may cause the poppies to stick around longer than usual and result in an above-average wildflower year. Park officials called this bloom an “unexpected” surprise due to the late-season rains,” wrote NASA.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a 7-kilometer-squared (about 1,800 acres) park located in the remote northeastern hills of LA County, providing a “perfect microclimate” for the display of blooming California poppies. “The bloom time changes every year,” said state park interpreter Jean Rhyne. “Generally, it happens early in April, but it can take place any time between mid-March and early May.”

After 5 years of drought, large amounts of precipitation welcomed the arrival of superblooms that began in the southern part of the state which eventually crept northward. This change from a barren desert to an incredible superbloom was captured by the private satellite startup Planet. Moreover, this field of poppy flowers contain other varieties like lavender-colored forget-me-nots, cream cups, purple-hued bush pines, and yellow goldfields.

The orange colors of poppies appear to dominate Antelope Valley, California, but the fields also contain lavender-colored forget-me-nots, cream cups, purple-hued bush pines, and yellow goldfields. Ben Chu/Shutterstock

“Depending on the day or even hour, the orange patches may change in appearance. The poppies open their petals during sunny periods, appearing like a large blanket over the landscape. The flowers tend to close during windy, cold periods,” writes NASA. the California Department of Parks and Recreation is welcoming virtual visitors to its poppy reserve through designated live camera.

The 2019 super bloom attracted so much attention that officials were forced to shut down some public areas. Public Domain