In slow motion, vortex rings can be truly stunning. This video shows two bubble rings underwater as they interact with one another. Upon approach, the two low-pressure vortex cores link up in what’s known as vortex reconnection. Note how the vortex rings split and reconnect in two places – not one. According to Helmholtz’s second theorem a vortex cannot end in a fluid–it must form a closed path (or end at a boundary); that’s why both sides come apart and together this way. After reconnection, waves ripple back and forth along the distorted vortex ring; these are known as Kelvin waves. Some of those perturbations bring two sides of the enlarged vortex ring too close to one another, causing a second vortex reconnection, which pinches off a smaller vortex ring. (Image source: A. Lawrence; submitted by Kam-Yung Soh)
Note: As with many viral images, locating a true source for this video is difficult. So far the closest to an original source I’ve found is the Instagram post linked above. If you know the original source, please let me know so that I can update the credit accordingly. Thanks!