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Astron. Astrophys. 334, 1060-1067 (1998)

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Study of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability in Tycho's supernova remnant

P.F. Velázquez * 1, D.O. Gómez 1, 2, G.M. Dubner 1, G. Giménez de Castro; ** 1 and A. Costa *** 1

1 Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio, CC 67, Suc. 28, 1428 - Buenos Aires, Argentina (pablov@iafe.uba.ar, gomez@iafe.uba.ar, gdubner@iafe.uba.ar, costa@iafe.uba.ar)
2 Department of Physics, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 13 January 1998 / Accepted 4 March 1998


In the present paper we investigate the linear stage of instabilities which might take place at the shock front of young supernova remnants (hereafter SNR), deriving expressions for the characteristic wavelength and typical growth time scales. These theoretical predictions are compared with very high resolution observations of Tycho's SNR obtained with the Very Large Array at 1.4 GHz. The images obtained with an angular resolution of the order of 1 arcsec and with very good sensitivity, clearly reveal the presence of corrugated (wavelike) structures with remarkable spatial regularity, visible mainly along the northeastern part of the SNR shell. We argue that the Rayleigh-Taylor instability (hereafter R-T) is responsible for the observed structures. Using physical parameters of Tycho's remnant and its environment derived from different X-ray observational studies, we computed the expected wavelength and growth rate for the most unstable R-T mode including viscosity and magnetic effects. The wavelength we derive is fully compatible with the one measured directly on the image ([FORMULA]). The growth rate derived for this mode indicates that the R-T instability is still undergoing its linear stage.

Key words: ISM: supernova remnants – shock waves – ISM: individual: Tycho SNR – hydrodynamics – instabilities

* Fellow of CONICET
** Fellow of CNPq, Brasil
*** Gómez, Dubner and Costa are Members of the Carrera del Investigador Científico, CONICET, Argentina

Present address: NUCATE, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Rua Roxo Moreira 1752, 13083 - 592, Campinas, SP, Brasil (guigue@nucate.unicamp.br)

Send offprint requests to: P.F. Velázquez

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 2, 1998