PhoSim v5.3 Completed

The 18th major release of the Photon Simulator (PhoSim) is completed, tagged, and validated and is called PhoSim v5.3.

For those of you who are as not familiar with PhoSim, the goal is to continue to push towards a complete ab initio Monte Carlo simulation code of the physics of astronomical observations. PhoSim is the only way to assess detailed measurement errors (photometric/astrometric/PSF size/shape) and produce realistic images. PhoSim is also highly efficient with novel numerical algorithms and multithreading methods making it considerably faster than other approaches. PhoSim has hundreds of users, several dozen contributors, and there are hundreds of improvements in each major release (twice per year) . Major improvements in recent releases have been opto-mechanical physics, sensor electrostatic details, generalizations and implementations for various telescopes, simplification of the user interface, and internal astro catalog generator & operations capabilities.

Some highlights from PhoSim v5.3:

-There are now a large set of 16 (!) tutorials that cover both simple and complex uses for many of PhoSim’s capabilities including many examples

-The user interface has been updated based on feedback and continued simplification.

-Setup time has been drastically reduced by a factor >4 by a variety of optimizations & multithreading (very useful for small numbers of objects)

-Overall PhoSim is significantly faster due to a number of improvements for the background and other parts & more detailed validation

-Most of the rewrite of atmosphere is included that includes ab initio physics involving absorption/background/dispersion/turbulence with self-consistent properties of the atmosphere (common+trace molecules/larger particles + hydro/chemistry/climate)

-There is now the ability to simulate X-rays (!) and UV light by extending some physics

-There is an implementation of new grating module for spectrometers allowing for arbitrary designs and faster simulations

-There is now anti-reflective coating sensor physics, more capabilities for sensor dead layers, more detailed optical properties of detectors

-There are general improvements related to robustness of opto-mechanical physics, more capabilities for external perturbation input

-A variety of improvements related to the generalization to different observatories are also included

-There are more moving object models

All of the details are available following links at the main PhoSim site:

Other notes:

-If you don’t want to run PhoSim yourself, there is also a massive amount of images being continuously generated by Bellarmine (see links).