Journal Article

An algorithm for Monte Carlo time-dependent radiation transfer

Tim J. Harries

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 416, issue 2, pages 1500-1508
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19147.x
An algorithm for Monte Carlo time-dependent radiation transfer

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A new Monte Carlo algorithm for calculating time-dependent radiative transfer under the assumption of local thermodynamic equilibrium is presented. Unlike flux-limited diffusion, the method is polychromatic, includes scattering, and is able to treat the optically-thick and free-streaming regimes simultaneously. The algorithm is tested on a variety of 1D and 2D problems, and good agreement with benchmark solutions is found. The method is used to calculate the time-varying spectral energy distribution from a circumstellar disc illuminated by a protostar whose accretion luminosity is varying. It is shown that the time-lag between the optical variability and the infrared variability results from a combination of the photon traveltime and the thermal response in the disc, and that the lag is an approximately linear function of wavelength.

Keywords: radiative transfer; methods: numerical; protoplanetary discs; stars: pre-main-sequence

Journal Article.  5777 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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