Powderday: Dust Radiative Transfer for Galaxy Simulations

Desika Narayanan, Matthew J. Turk, Thomas Robitaille, Ashley J. Kelly, B. Connor McClellan, Ray S. Sharma, Prerak Garg, Matthew Abruzzo, Ena Choi, Charlie Conroy, Benjamin D. Johnson, Benjamin Kimock, Qi Li, Christopher C. Lovell, Sidney Lower, George C. Privon, Jonathan Roberts, Snigdaa Sethuram, Gregory F. Snyder, Robert ThompsonJohn H. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present powderday (available at https://github.com/dnarayanan/powderday), a flexible, fast, open-source dust radiative transfer package designed to interface with both idealized and cosmological galaxy formation simulations. powderday builds on fsps stellar population synthesis models, and hyperion dust radiative transfer, and employs yt to interface between different software packages. We include our stellar population synthesis modeling on the fly, allowing significant flexibility in the assumed stellar physics and nebular line emission. The dust content follows either simple observationally motivated prescriptions (i.e., constant dust-to-metals ratios, or dust-to-gas ratios that vary with metallicity), direct modeling from galaxy formation simulations that include dust physics, as well as a novel approach that includes the dust content via learning-based algorithms from the simba cosmological galaxy formation simulation. Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) can additionally be included via a range of prescriptions. The output of these models are broadband (912 Å-1 mm) spectral energy distributions (SEDs), as well as filter-convolved monochromatic images. powderday is designed to eliminate last-mile efforts by researchers that employ different hydrodynamic galaxy formation models and seamlessly interfaces with gizmo, arepo, gasoline, changa, and enzo. We demonstrate the capabilities of the code via three applications: a model for the star formation rate-infrared luminosity relation in galaxies (including the impact of AGNs), the impact of circumstellar dust around AGB stars on the mid-infrared emission from galaxy SEDs, and the impact of galaxy inclination angle on dust attenuation laws.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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