Numerical Simulations of the Magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor Instability in the Kippenhahn-Schlüter Prominence Model. I. Formation of Upflows
The launch of the Hinode satellite led to the discovery of rising plumes, dark in chromospheric lines, that propagate from large (~10 Mm) bubbles that form at the base of quiescent prominences. The plumes move through a height of approximately 10 Mm while developing highly turbulent profiles. The magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability was hypothesized to be the mechanism that drives these flows. In this study, using three-dimensional (3D) MHD simulations, we investigate the nonlinear stability of the Kippenhahn-Schlüter prominence model for the interchange mode of the magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability. The model simulates the rise of a buoyant tube inside the quiescent prominence model, where the interchange of magnetic field lines becomes possible at the boundary between the buoyant tube and the prominence. Hillier et al. presented the initial results of this study, where upflows of constant velocity (maximum found 6 km s-1) and a maximum plume width ≈1.5 Mm which propagate through a height of approximately 6 Mm were found. Nonlinear interaction between plumes was found to be important for determining the plume dynamics. In this paper, using the results of ideal MHD simulations, we determine how the initial parameters for the model and buoyant tube affect the evolution of instability. We find that the 3D mode of the magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability grows, creating upflows aligned with the magnetic field of constant velocity (maximum found 7.3 km s-1). The width of the upflows is dependent on the initial conditions, with a range of 0.5-4 Mm which propagate through heights of 3-6 Mm. These results are in general agreement with the observations of the rising plumes.