I. Time-dependent radiative transfer in arbitrary spacetimes★
Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University Nijmegen,
PO Box 9010,
GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2 Institut für Theoretische Physik, Max-von-Laue-Straße 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, Bonn 53121, Germany
4 Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, Ruth-Moufang-Straße 1, 60438 Frankfurt, Germany
Accepted: 29 December 2017
Context. Observational efforts to image the immediate environment of a black hole at the scale of the event horizon benefit from the development of efficient imaging codes that are capable of producing synthetic data, which may be compared with observational data.
Aims. We aim to present RAPTOR, a new public code that produces accurate images, animations, and spectra of relativistic plasmas in strong gravity by numerically integrating the equations of motion of light rays and performing time-dependent radiative transfer calculations along the rays. The code is compatible with any analytical or numerical spacetime. It is hardware-agnostic and may be compiled and run both on GPUs and CPUs.
Methods. We describe the algorithms used in RAPTOR and test the code’s performance. We have performed a detailed comparison of RAPTOR output with that of other radiative-transfer codes and demonstrate convergence of the results. We then applied RAPTOR to study accretion models of supermassive black holes, performing time-dependent radiative transfer through general relativistic magneto-hydrodynamical (GRMHD) simulations and investigating the expected observational differences between the so-called fast-light and slow-light paradigms.
Results. Using RAPTOR to produce synthetic images and light curves of a GRMHD model of an accreting black hole, we find that the relative difference between fast-light and slow-light light curves is less than 5%. Using two distinct radiative-transfer codes to process the same data, we find integrated flux densities with a relative difference less than 0.01%.
Conclusions. For two-dimensional GRMHD models, such as those examined in this paper, the fast-light approximation suffices as long as errors of a few percent are acceptable. The convergence of the results of two different codes demonstrates that they are, at a minimum, consistent.
Key words: radiative transfer / black hole physics / accretion, accretion disks
The public version of RAPTOR is available at the following URL: https://github.com/tbronzwaer/raptor
© ESO 2018