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General Relativistic Radiative Transfer

Abstract

We present a general method to calculate radiative transfer including scattering in the continuum as well as in lines in spherically symmetric systems that are influenced by the effects of general relativity (GR). We utilize a comoving wavelength ansatz that allows to resolve spectral lines throughout the atmosphere. The used numerical solution is an operator splitting (OS) technique that uses a characteristic formal solution. The bending of photon paths and the wavelength shifts due to the effects of GR are fully taken into account, as is the treatment of image generation in a curved spacetime. We describe the algorithm we use and demonstrate the effects of GR on the radiative transport of a two level atom line in a neutron star like atmosphere for various combinations of continuous and line scattering coefficients. In addition, we present grey continuum models and discuss the effects of different scattering albedos on the emergent spectra and the determination of effective temperatures and radii of neutron star atmospheres

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