Propagation, cocoon formation, and resultant destabilization of relativistic jets

Jin Matsumoto, Youhei Masada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A cocoon is a by-product of a propagating jet that results from shock heating at the jet head. Herein, considering simultaneous cocoon formation, we study the stability of relativistic jets propagating through the uniform ambient medium. Using a simple analytic argument, we demonstrate that independent from the jet launching condition, the effective inertia of the jet is larger than that of the cocoon when the fully relativistic jet oscillates radially owing to the pressure mismatch between jet and cocoon. In such situations, it is expected that the onset condition for the oscillation-induced Rayleigh-Taylor instability is satisfied at the jet interface, resulting in the destabilization of the relativistic jet during its propagation. We have quantitatively verified and confirmed our prior expectation by performing relativistic hydrodynamic simulations in three dimensions. The possible occurrences of the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability, oscillation-induced centrifugal instability, and Kelvin-Helmholtz instability are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4271-4280
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: jets
  • Instabilities
  • Methods: numerical
  • Relativistic processes
  • Shock waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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