Solar Flares: 2011-2012


It was on September 1, 1859 scientists Richard C. Carrington and Richard Hodgson (independently) observed sunspots, as they viewed a large flare of white light. Their work confirmed the existence and cycle of solar flares.

I was a resident artist in Mexico in 2011 when the Sun was to reach the maximum in its eleven year cycle. I decided to paint 11 paintings, some 50h x 30w inches, on Stonehenge paper to memorialize the event. In 2011 our Sun was about to give forth an impressive burst of magnetic energy, and emit radiation across the entire “electronic spectrum.” Every eleven years the solar flare phenomenon happens. I felt it important to introduce the public to my artistic treatment of this event, and increase public awareness on how important it is to observe and protect our “spaceship earth.”

I was visiting Maine, looking forward to moving back in 2012; I sought a way to exhibit my Solar Flare series. I continued to wish to find a venue for display of the series, but other art projects, and resettling in Maine made that project impossible. In 2017 I contacted the International Planetarium Society Office of Education. I was told  to contact Shawn Laatsch, Director of Emery Planetarium, UMO,  Orono, Maine. I did so by email, and we communicated on my proposal. He expressed interest. and said he would like to be involved. The idea became a possible art/science project; one that Mr. Laatsch felt he wanted to do at Emery. Many communications later we concluded on who would be involved.

This is an art/science project;  Shawn Laatsch, is President of the International Planetarium Society (IPS); and Emery’s year-long schedule and his duties at IPS had to be considered in scheduling the project. We decided that November 2018 was best for Emery Planetarium and for all concerned. 

The collaborative art/science event at Emery as a ‘fulldome’ production in November 2018. “Solar Flares” is a 25-minute video produced for dome projection by Emera Astronomy Center, Shawn Laatsch, Director; Duane Shimmel, IMFA, surround sound, Innovation and Learning, UMO); Solar Flares\SDO NASA; and John Ripton, PhD (curator & script writer) in collaboration with Maine artist st Roland Salazar Rose. The video production is based on Salazar’s series of eleven paintings.


Since there is general agreement among the science community that the “solar flare” eleven year cycle can be divided into three stages, See  NASA I divided my 11 images into these three stages; this is how they are represented in this gallery page on my website.

 Precursor Stage

This is the stage in a solar flare when magnetic energy is triggered. “Soft x-ray emission is detected in this stage.”DISPLAYED:  Solar Flare paintings: 8, 1, 2, 3

Impulsive Stage

In the second or impulsive stage: “ Protons and electrons are accelerated to energy exceeding 1 MeV. During the impulsive stage, radio waves, hard x-rays, and gamma rays are emitted.” DISPLAYED: Solar Flare paintings: 4, 5, 6, 7

Decay Stage

In the decay stage “the gradual build up and decay of soft x-rays can be detected. DISPLAYED: Solar Flare paintings: 9, 10, 11

NOTE: Duration of emission of any “stage” can be from a “few seconds” to “as long as an hour.” NASA. 



Solar Cycle 25 has begun. 2019 During a media event on Tuesday, experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discussed their analysis and predictions about the new solar cycle – and how the coming upswing in space weather will impact our lives and technology on Earth, as well as astronauts in space.

The Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts co-sponsored by NASA and NOAA, announced that solar minimum occurred in December 2019, marking the start of a new solar cycle. Because our Sun is so variable, it can take months after the fact to declare this event. Scientists use sunspots to track solar cycle progress; the dark blotches on the Sun are associated with solar activity, often as the origins for giant explosions – such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections – which can spew light, energy, and solar material into space.