Testing SALT Approximations with Numerical Radiation Transfer Code. I. Validity and Applicability

C. Carr, L. Michel-Dansac, J. Blaizot, C. Scarlata, A. Henry, A. Verhamme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Absorption line spectroscopy offers one of the best opportunities to constrain the properties of galactic outflows and the environment of the circumgalactic medium. Extracting physical information from line profiles is difficult; however, for the physics governing the underlying radiation transfer is complicated and depends on many different parameters. Idealized analytical models are necessary to constrain the large parameter spaces efficiently, but are typically plagued by model degeneracy and systematic errors. Comparison tests with idealized numerical radiation transfer codes offer an excellent opportunity to confront both of these issues. In this paper, we present a detailed comparison between SALT, an analytical radiation transfer model for predicting UV spectra of galactic outflows, with the numerical radiation transfer software, RASCAS. Our analysis has led to upgrades to both models including an improved derivation of SALT and a customizable adaptive mesh refinement routine for RASCAS. We explore how well SALT, when paired with a Monte Carlo fitting procedure, can recover flow parameters from nonturbulent and turbulent flows. Overall we find that turbulence leads to biases in the recovery of kinematic parameters and the optical depth, but find that derived quantities (e.g., mass outflow rates, column density, etc.) are still well recovered. From the analysis, we estimate average uncertainties in our ability to measure metal flow rates spanning 0.65 (0.95) dex in M yr−1 and uncertainties spanning 0.54 (0.94) dex in cm−2 for column densities at a resolution of 20 (100) km s−1 and signal-to-noise ratio = 10.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number88
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing SALT Approximations with Numerical Radiation Transfer Code. I. Validity and Applicability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this