Long Characteristics versus Short Characteristics in 3D Radiative Transfer Simulations of Polarized Radiation

de Vicente, A.; del Pino Alemán, T.; Trujillo Bueno, J.
Bibliographical reference

The Astrophysical Journal

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We compare maps of scattering polarization signals obtained from three-dimensional (3D) radiation transfer calculations in a magnetoconvection model of the solar atmosphere using formal solvers based on the "short characteristics" (SC) and the "long characteristics" (LC) methods. The SC method requires less computational work, but it is known to introduce spatial blurring in the emergent radiation for inclined lines of sight. For polarized radiation this effect is generally more severe due to it being a signed quantity and to the sensitivity of the scattering polarization to the model's inhomogeneities. We study the differences in the polarization signals of the emergent spectral line radiation calculated with such formal solvers. We take as a case study already published results of the scattering polarization in the Sr I 4607 Å line obtained with the SC method, demonstrating that in high-resolution grids it is accurate enough for that type of study. In general, the LC method is the preferred one for accurate calculations of the emergent radiation, which is the reason why it is now one of the options in the public version of the 3D radiative transfer code PORTA.
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Magnetism, Polarization and Radiative Transfer in Astrophysics

Magnetic fields pervade all astrophysical plasmas and govern most of the variability in the Universe at intermediate time scales. They are present in stars across the whole Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, in galaxies, and even perhaps in the intergalactic medium. Polarized light provides the most reliable source of information at our disposal for the

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