See the Dutch tulip fields bloom in radiant views from space

Let an ESA satellite bring the beauty of tulip time in the Netherlands directly to your screen.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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This series of images shows the tulip fields coming into bloom between April 5 and April 20 as seen by satellite.

Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), processed by ESA

This time last year, overzealous selfie-takers were stomping on the iconic tulips of the Netherlands. Social distancing is now an imperative during the coronavirus pandemic, so the European Space Agency (ESA) figured the world might like to appreciate 2020's tulips from a safe stretch away -- in space. 

ESA shared a GIF on Thursday showing the tulip fields around the town of Lisse coming into bloom between April 5 and April 20. Rectangles of bright colors emerge in the view from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite. 

"Lasting just a few weeks, the beauty of these colors normally attracts millions of visitors from all over the world," ESA said. "Sadly, this is not the case this year, as the COVID-19 crisis means that people cannot travel and even locals are actively discouraged from visiting the fields."

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission monitors surface changes on Earth. It helps to track climate change and assess damage after disasters to aid emergency responses. Sometimes, it just gives us a reason for to appreciate the beauty below.

The tulip view from orbit is a very different perspective on what is normally a massive tourist event. There's still plenty of charm to enjoy, even from so far away.

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