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Radiative transfer in disc galaxies, I : a comparison of four methods to solve the transfer equation in plane-parallel geometry

Maarten Baes (UGent) and Herwig Dejonghe (UGent)
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Abstract
Accurate photometric and kinematic modelling of disc galaxies requires the inclusion of radiative transfer models. Because of the complexity of the radiative transfer equation (RTE), sophisticated techniques are required. Various techniques have been employed for the attenuation in disc galaxies, but a quantitative comparison of them is difficult, because of the differing assumptions, approximations and accuracy requirements that are adopted in the literature. In this paper, we present an unbiased comparison of four methods to solve the RTE, in terms of accuracy, efficiency and flexibility. We apply them all to one problem that can serve as a first approximation of large portions of disc galaxies: a one-dimensional plane-parallel geometry, with both absorption and multiple scattering taken into account, with arbitrary vertical distributions of stars and dust and an arbitrary angular redistribution of the scattering. We find that the spherical harmonics method is by far the most efficient way to solve the RTE, whereas both Monte Carlo simulations and the iteration method, which are straightforward to extend to more complex geometries, have a cost that is about 170 times larger.
Keywords
MONTE-CARLO SIMULATIONS, SPIRAL GALAXIES, GALACTIC DISKS, SURFACE PHOTOMETRY, EXTERNAL GALAXIES, DUST EXTINCTION, TRANSFER MODELS, ULTRAVIOLET, CLOUDS, STELLAR, radiative transfer, galaxies : ISM, methods : numerical

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MLA
Baes, Maarten, and Herwig Dejonghe. “Radiative Transfer in Disc Galaxies, I : a Comparison of Four Methods to Solve the Transfer Equation in Plane-parallel Geometry.” MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 326.2 (2001): 722–732. Print.
APA
Baes, M., & Dejonghe, H. (2001). Radiative transfer in disc galaxies, I : a comparison of four methods to solve the transfer equation in plane-parallel geometry. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 326(2), 722–732.
Chicago author-date
Baes, Maarten, and Herwig Dejonghe. 2001. “Radiative Transfer in Disc Galaxies, I : a Comparison of Four Methods to Solve the Transfer Equation in Plane-parallel Geometry.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 326 (2): 722–732.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Baes, Maarten, and Herwig Dejonghe. 2001. “Radiative Transfer in Disc Galaxies, I : a Comparison of Four Methods to Solve the Transfer Equation in Plane-parallel Geometry.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 326 (2): 722–732.
Vancouver
1.
Baes M, Dejonghe H. Radiative transfer in disc galaxies, I : a comparison of four methods to solve the transfer equation in plane-parallel geometry. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY. 2001;326(2):722–32.
IEEE
[1]
M. Baes and H. Dejonghe, “Radiative transfer in disc galaxies, I : a comparison of four methods to solve the transfer equation in plane-parallel geometry,” MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, vol. 326, no. 2, pp. 722–732, 2001.
@article{137488,
  abstract     = {Accurate photometric and kinematic modelling of disc galaxies requires the inclusion of radiative transfer models. Because of the complexity of the radiative transfer equation (RTE), sophisticated techniques are required. Various techniques have been employed for the attenuation in disc galaxies, but a quantitative comparison of them is difficult, because of the differing assumptions, approximations and accuracy requirements that are adopted in the literature. In this paper, we present an unbiased comparison of four methods to solve the RTE, in terms of accuracy, efficiency and flexibility. We apply them all to one problem that can serve as a first approximation of large portions of disc galaxies: a one-dimensional plane-parallel geometry, with both absorption and multiple scattering taken into account, with arbitrary vertical distributions of stars and dust and an arbitrary angular redistribution of the scattering. We find that the spherical harmonics method is by far the most efficient way to solve the RTE, whereas both Monte Carlo simulations and the iteration method, which are straightforward to extend to more complex geometries, have a cost that is about 170 times larger.},
  author       = {Baes, Maarten and Dejonghe, Herwig},
  issn         = {0035-8711},
  journal      = {MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY},
  keywords     = {MONTE-CARLO SIMULATIONS,SPIRAL GALAXIES,GALACTIC DISKS,SURFACE PHOTOMETRY,EXTERNAL GALAXIES,DUST EXTINCTION,TRANSFER MODELS,ULTRAVIOLET,CLOUDS,STELLAR,radiative transfer,galaxies : ISM,methods : numerical},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {722--732},
  title        = {Radiative transfer in disc galaxies, I : a comparison of four methods to solve the transfer equation in plane-parallel geometry},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04625.x},
  volume       = {326},
  year         = {2001},
}

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