Effect of interacting rarefaction waves on relativistically hot jets

Jin Matsumoto, Youhei Masada, Kazunari Shibata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of rarefaction acceleration on the propagation dynamics and structure of relativistically hot jets is studied through relativistic hydrodynamic simulations. We emphasize the nonlinear interaction of rarefaction waves excited at the interface between a cylindrical jet and the surrounding medium. From simplified one-dimensional (1D) models with radial jet structure, we find that a decrease in the relativistic pressure due to the interacting rarefaction waves in the central zone of the jet transiently yields a more powerful boost of the bulk jet than that expected from single rarefaction acceleration. This leads to a cyclic in situ energy conversion between thermal and bulk kinetic energies, which induces radial oscillating motion of the jet. The oscillation timescale is characterized by the initial pressure ratio of the jet to the ambient medium and follows a simple scaling relation, τoscillation(P jet, 0/P amb, 0) 1/2. Extended two-dimensional simulations confirm that this radial oscillating motion in the 1D system manifests as modulation of the structure of the jet in a more realistic situation where a relativistically hot jet propagates through an ambient medium. We find that when the ambient medium has a power-law pressure distribution, the size of the reconfinement region along the propagation direction of the jet in the modulation structure λ evolves according to a self-similar relation λt α/2, where α is the power-law index of the pressure distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: jets
  • hydrodynamics
  • methods: numerical
  • relativistic processes
  • shock waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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