The magnetic Rayleigh–Taylor instability in solar prominences
Reviews of Modern Plasma Physics
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Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by the publisher. 12 month embargo required at publication
The magnetic Rayleigh–Taylor instability is a fundamental instability of many astrophysical systems and recent observations are consistent with this instability developing in solar prominences. Prominences are cool, dense clouds of plasma that form in the solar corona that display a wide range of dynamics of a multitude of spatial and temporal scales, and two different phenomena that have been discovered to occur in prominences can be understood as resulting from the Rayleigh–Taylor instability. The first is that of plumes that rise through quiescent prominences from low density bubbles that form below them. The second is that of a prominence eruption that fragments as the material falls back to the solar surface. To identify these events as the magnetic Rayleigh–Taylor instability, a wide range of theoretical work, both numerical and analytical, has been performed, though alternative explanations do exist. For both of these sets of observations, determining that they are created by the magnetic Rayleigh–Taylor instability has meant that the linear instability conditions and nonlinear dynamics can be used to make estimates of the magnetic field strength. There are strong connections between these phenomena and those in a number of other astro, space and plasma systems, making these observations very important for our understanding of the role of the Rayleigh–Taylor instability in magnetised systems.
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- Mathematics