TheOtherBruce wrote: ↑Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:18 am

How sure are we that the filamenty look is due to an actual stringy filament structure,

as opposed to perspective effects of seeing shocked dollops of high-vgas edge-on?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayleigh%E2%80%93Taylor_instability wrote: <<The Rayleigh–Taylor instability, or RT instability(after Lord Rayleigh and G. I. Taylor), is an instability of an interface between two fluids of different densities which occurs when the lighter fluid is pushing the heavier fluid. Examples include the behavior of water suspended above oil in the gravity of Earth, mushroom clouds like those from volcanic eruptions and atmospheric nuclear explosions, supernova explosions in which expanding core gas is accelerated into denser shell gas, instabilities in plasma fusion reactors and inertial confinement fusion.

Water suspended atop oil is an everyday example of Rayleigh–Taylor instability, and it may be modeled by two completely plane-parallel layers of immiscible fluid, the more dense on top of the less dense one and both subject to the Earth's gravity. The equilibrium here is unstable to any perturbations or disturbances of the interface: if a parcel of heavier fluid is displaced downward with an equal volume of lighter fluid displaced upwards, the potential energy of the configuration is lower than the initial state. Thus the disturbance will grow and lead to a further release of potential energy, as the more dense material moves down under the (effective) gravitational field, and the less dense material is further displaced upwards. This was the set-up as studied by Lord Rayleigh. The important insight by G. I. Taylor was his realisation that this situation is equivalent to the situation when the fluids are accelerated, with the less dense fluid accelerating into the more dense fluid. This occurs deep underwater on the surface of an expanding bubble and in a nuclear explosion.

As the RT instability develops, the initial perturbations progress from a linear growth phase into a non-linear growth phase, eventually developing "plumes" flowing upwards (in the gravitational buoyancy sense) and "spikes" falling downwards. In the linear phase, equations can be linearized and the amplitude of perturbations is growing exponentially with time. In the non-linear phase, perturbation amplitude is too large for the non-linear terms to be neglected. In general, the density disparity between the fluids determines the structure of the subsequent non-linear RT instability flows (assuming other variables such as surface tension and viscosity are negligible here). The difference in the fluid densities divided by their sum is defined as the Atwood number, A. For A close to 0, RT instability flows take the form of symmetric "fingers" of fluid; for A close to 1, the much lighter fluid "below" the heavier fluid takes the form of larger bubble-like plumes.

This process is evident not only in many terrestrial examples, from salt domes to weather inversions, but also in astrophysics and electrohydrodynamics. RT instability structure is also evident in the Crab Nebula, in which the expanding pulsar wind nebula powered by the Crab pulsar is sweeping up ejected material from the supernova explosion 1000 years ago. The RT instability has also recently been discovered in the Sun's outer atmosphere, or solar corona, when a relatively dense solar prominence overlies a less dense plasma bubble.] This latter case is a clear example of the magnetically modulated RT instability.>>