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Simulating X-ray Observations with Python

John A. ZuHone
Astrophysics Science Division, Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, Code 662, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

Veronica Biffi
SISSA - Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati, Via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste, Italy

Eric J. Hallman
Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

Scott W. Randall
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Adam R. Foster
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Christian Schmid
Dr. Karl Remeis-Sternwarte & ECAP, Sternwartstr. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany

Abstract

X-ray astronomy is an important tool in the astrophysicist's toolkit to investigate high-energy astrophysical phenomena. Theoretical numerical simulations of astrophysical sources are fully three-dimensional representations of physical quantities such as density, temperature, and pressure, whereas astronomical observations are two-dimensional projections of the emission generated via mechanisms dependent on these quantities. To bridge the gap between simulations and observations, algorithms for generating synthetic observations of simulated data have been developed. We present an implementation of such an algorithm in the yt analysis software package. We describe the underlying model for generating the X-ray photons, the important role that yt and other Python packages play in its implementation, and present a detailed workable example of the creation of simulated X-ray observations.

Keywords

astronomical observations, astrophysics simulations, visualization

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