Solar Physics

, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 63–72 | Cite as

Gravitational ballooning instability of prominences

  • H. R. Strauss
  • D. W. Longcope


Prominences can be unstable to a gravitational ballooning instability of the Rayleigh-Taylor type. A two-dimensional generalized Kippenhahn-Schlüter prominence equilibrium is constructed. Its stability to ideal, three-dimensional, short-wavelength line-tied perturbations is analyzed. The instability requires a critical vertical density gradient. For a given magnetic field strength, the instability is sensitive to the angle at which the magnetic field lines cross the prominence. An approximate, sufficient, threshold condition is consistent with typical prominence parameters.


Magnetic Field Field Strength Density Gradient Field Line Magnetic Field Strength 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. R. Strauss
    • 1
  • D. W. Longcope
    • 1
  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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