Convective instability of hollow Sedov-Taylor blast waves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The self-similar solutions by Sedov and Taylor for a strong spherical shock in an ideal gas are evacuated at their centers if the preshock density falls as a high power of radius. These solutions could represent an idealized form of a supernova blast wave in the early phase when the shock moves through the stellar envelope. For astrophysically relevant values of the adiabatic index, the hollow solutions are unstable to global convective modes: that is, the compressible generalization of Rayleigh-Taylor modes. For very large spherical harmonic degrees l, the growth rate scales as l1/2 and the eigenfunction is concentrated within a distance proportional to 1/l of the inner edge of the fluid. A condition is also given for local convective instability, which may exist even when unstable global modes do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-228
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Shock waves
  • Stars: supernovae


Dive into the research topics of 'Convective instability of hollow Sedov-Taylor blast waves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this