Optimizing the Resolution of Hydrodynamic Simulations for MCRaT Radiative Transfer Calculations





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Despite their discovery about half a century ago, the Gamma-ray burst (GRB) prompt emission mechanism is still not well understood. Theoretical modeling of the prompt emission has advanced considerably due to new computational tools and techniques. One such tool is the PLUTO hydrodynamics code, which is used to numerically simulate GRB outflows. PLUTO uses Adaptive Mesh Refinement to focus computational efforts on the portion of the grid that contains the simulated jet. Another tool is the Monte Carlo Radiation Transfer (MCRaT) code, which predicts electromagnetic signatures of GRBs by conducting photon scatterings within a jet using PLUTO. The effects of the underlying resolution of a PLUTO simulation with respect to MCRaT post-processing radiative transfer results have not yet been quantified. We analyze an analytic spherical outflow and a hydrodynamically simulated GRB jet with MCRaT at varying spatial and temporal resolutions and quantify how decreasing both resolutions affect the resulting mock observations. We find that changing the spatial resolution changes the hydrodynamic properties of the jet, which directly affect the MCRaT mock observable peak energies. We also find that decreasing the temporal resolution artificially decreases the high energy slope of the mock observed spectrum, which increases both the spectral peak energy and the luminosity. We show that the effects are additive when both spatial and temporal resolutions are modified. Our results allow us to understand how decreased hydrodynamic temporal and spatial resolutions affect the results of post-processing radiative transfer calculations, allowing for the optimization of hydrodynamic simulations for radiative transfer codes.