Transverse stability of relativistic two-component jets
FOM-Institute for Plasma Physics Rijnhuizen, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
2 Centre for Plasma Astrophysics, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
3 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com, Rony.Keppens@wis.kuleuven.be
Accepted: 24 September 2007
Context.Astrophysical jets from various sources seem to be stratified, with a fast inner jet and a slower outer jet. As it is likely that the launching mechanism for each component is different, their interface will develop differential rotation, while the outer jet radius represents a second interface where disruptions may occur.
Aims.We explore the stability of stratified, rotating, relativistic two-component jets, in turn embedded in static interstellar medium.
Methods.In a grid-adaptive relativistic hydrodynamic simulation with the AMRVAC (Adaptive Mesh Refinement version of the Versatile Advection) code, the non-linear azimuthal stability of two-component relativistic jets is investigated. We simulate until multiple inner jet rotations have been completed.
Results.We find evidence for the development of an extended shear flow layer between the two jet components, resulting from the growth of a body mode in the inner jet, Kelvin-Helmholtz surface modes at their original interface, and their nonlinear interaction. Both wave modes are excited by acoustic waves which are reflected between the symmetry axis and the interface of the two jet components. Their interaction induces the growth of near stationary, counterrotating vortices at the outer edge of the shear flow layer. The presence of a heavy external jet allows their further development be slowed down, and the maintaince of a collimated flow. At the outer jet boundary, small-scale Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities develop, without disrupting the jet configuration.
Conclusions.We demonstrate that the cross-section of two-component relativistic jets, with a heavy, cold outer jet, is non-linearly stable.
Key words: hydrodynamics / ISM: jets and outflows / galaxies: jets / relativity / instabilities / waves
© ESO, 2007