Astron Astrophys 2017 Sep 18;605. Epub 2017 Aug 18.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.
Aims: Molecular line lists (a catalogue of transition frequencies and line strengths) are important for modelling absorption and emission processes in atmospheres of different astronomical objects, such as cool stars and exoplanets. In order to be applicable for high temperatures, line lists for molecules like methane must contain billions of transitions, which makes their direct (line-by-line usage) application in radiative transfer calculations impracticable. Here we suggest a new, hybrid line list format to mitigate this problem, based on the idea of temperature-dependent absorption continuum.
Methods: The line list is partitioned into a large set of relatively weak lines and a small set of important, stronger lines. The weaker lines are then used either to construct a temperature-dependent (but pressure-independent) set of intensity cross sections or are blended into a greatly reduced set of 'super-lines'. The strong lines are kept in the form of temperature-independent Einstein coefficients.
Results: A line list for methane (CH) is constructed as a combination of 17 million strong absorption lines relative to the reference absorption spectra and a background methane continuum in two temperature-dependent forms of cross sections and super-lines. This approach significantly eases the use of large high temperature line lists as the computationally expensive calculation of pressure- dependent profiles (e.g. Voigt) only need to be performed for a relatively small number of lines. Both the line list and cross sections were generated using a new 34 billion methane line list (known as 34to10), which extends the 10to10 line list to higher temperatures (up to 2000 K). The new hybrid scheme can be applied to any large line lists containing billions of transitions. We recommend using super-lines generated on a high resolution grid based on a resolving power of = 1,000,000 to model the molecular continuum as a more flexible alternative to the temperature-dependent cross sections.