Dust Adaptive Radiative Transfer Ray-tracing

N-body/SPH galaxy simulation post-processed with DART-Ray. Wavelengths shown are 0.220 microns (UV, left panel), 0.443 microns (optical, middle panel), 24 microns (mid-infrared, right panel). UV is dominated by young stellar populations (up to 100 million years old), optical by older stellar populations and mid-infrared by warm interstellar dust emission.
Related publication: Natale et al. (2015) .


DART-Ray is a purely ray-tracing 3D dust radiative transfer code. It has been developed by Giovanni Natale while working in the research group of Cristina Popescu at the University of Central Lancashire between 2011 and 2017.

It is freely available on github: DART-Ray download page

DART-Ray can be used to model the transport of stellar and dust emission within astrophysical objects taking into account the effect of interstellar dust including absorption, anysotropic scattering and re-emission. The dust emission can be calculated assuming dust at equilibrium with the radiation field or by performing a full calculation of the stochastically heated dust emission spectra. For any input arbitrary geometry of stellar and dust emission distributions, the code calculates the radiation field energy density distribution and the surface brightness maps as observed at arbitrary positions either far away or within the model. The code is written in Fortran 2003 and it is MPI+OpenMP parallelized. It allows to vary flexibly all the input physics (dust model, stellar emission SEDs) as well as the model geometry.

DART-Ray User Guide

The User guide of DART-Ray can be downloaded at the following link: DART-Ray User Guide

The example N-body/SPH galaxy simulation mentioned in the user guide (provided by V. Debattista) can be downloaded here.

For support in using the code and to be added to the mailing list for updates, please email: dartray.queries (AT) gmail (DOT) com.

Multiwavelength Galaxy Simulation Visualizer

Examples of high resolution galaxy models calculated using DART-Ray can be found at this page: Multiwavelength Galaxy Simulation Visualizer

Related Technical Publications

"DART-RAY: a 3D ray-tracing radiative transfer code for calculating the propagation of light in dusty galaxies"

Natale, G.; Popescu, C. C.; Tuffs, R. J.; Semionov, D. 2014, MNRAS, 438, 3137

"Predicting the stellar and non-equilibrium dust emission spectra of high-resolution simulated galaxies with DART-RAY"

Natale, Giovanni; Popescu, Cristina C.; Tuffs, Richard. J.; Debattista, Victor P.; Fischera, Jörg; Grootes, Meiert W., 2015, MNRAS, 449, 243

– Natale et al. (2017), in preparation


The development of DART-Ray has been supported by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC; grant ST/J001341/1). We also acknowledge support from the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant RPG-2013-418.

The code includes some subroutines from the HealPix package.

Large part of the code development has been done using the computer cluster at the Max Planck Institute für Kernphysik in Heidelberg.