Journal Article

<span class="smallCaps">crash</span>α: coupling continuum and line radiative transfer

M. Pierleoni, A. Maselli and B. Ciardi

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 393, issue 3, pages 872-884
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
crashα: coupling continuum and line radiative transfer

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In this paper we present crashα, the first radiative transfer code for cosmological application that follows the parallel propagation of Lyα and ionizing photons. crashα is a version of the continuum radiative transfer code crash with a new algorithm to follow the propagation of Lyα photons through a gas configuration whose ionization structure is evolving. The implementation introduces the time evolution for Lyα photons (a feature commonly neglected in line radiative transfer codes) and, to reduce the computational time needed to follow each scattering, adopts a statistical approach to the Lyα treatment by making extensive use of pre-compiled tables. These tables describe the physical characteristics of a photon escaping from a gas cell where it was trapped by scattering as a function of the gas temperature/density and of the incoming photon frequency. With this statistical approach we experience a drastic increase of the computational speed and, at the same time, an excellent agreement with the full Lyα radiative transfer computations of the code mclyα. We find that the emerging spectra keep memory of the ionization history which generates a given ionization configuration of the gas and, to properly account for this effect, a self-consistent joint evolution of line and ionizing continuum radiation as implemented in crashα is necessary. A comparison between the results from our code and from Lyα scattering alone on a fixed H i density field shows that the extent of the difference between the emerging spectra depends on the particular configuration considered, but it can be substantial and can thus affect the physical interpretation of the problem at hand. These differences should furthermore be taken into account when computing the impact of the Lyα radiation on e.g. the observability of the 21-cm line from neutral hydrogen at epochs preceding complete reionization.

Keywords: line: profiles; radiative transfer; methods: numerical

Journal Article.  10985 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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