DART-RAY: a 3D ray-tracing radiative transfer code for calculating the propagation of light in dusty galaxies

Natale, G., Popescu, Cristina orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7866-702X, Tuffs, R. J. and Semionov, D. (2014) DART-RAY: a 3D ray-tracing radiative transfer code for calculating the propagation of light in dusty galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 438 (4). pp. 3137-3162. ISSN 0035-8711

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stt2418


We present DART-Ray, a new ray-tracing 3D dust radiative transfer (RT) code designed specifically to calculate radiation field energy density (RFED) distributions within dusty galaxy models with arbitrary geometries. In this paper, we introduce the basic algorithm implemented in . DART-Ray which is based on a pre-calculation of a lower limit for the RFED distribution. This pre-calculation allows us to estimate the extent of regions around the radiation sources within which these sources contribute significantly to the RFED. In this way, ray-tracing calculations can be restricted to take place only within these regions, thus substantially reducing the computational time compared to a complete ray-tracing RT calculation. Anisotropic scattering is included in the code and handled in a similar fashion. Furthermore, the code utilizes a Cartesian adaptive spatial grid and an iterative method has been implemented to optimize the angular densities of the rays originated from each emitting cell. In order to verify the accuracy of the RT calculations performed by DART-Ray, we present results of comparisons with solutions obtained using the dusty 1D RT code for a dust shell illuminated by a central point source and existing 2D RT calculations of disc galaxies with diffusely distributed stellar emission and dust opacity. Finally, we show the application of the code on a spiral galaxy model with logarithmic spiral arms in order to measure the effect of the spiral pattern on the attenuation and RFED. © 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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