nmagic: a fast parallel implementation of a χ2-made-to-measure algorithm for modelling observational data

De Lorenzi, Flavio ; Debattista, Victor P. ; Gerhard, Ortwin ; Sambhus, Niranjan

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2007, vol. 376, no. 1, p. 71-88

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    We describe a made-to-measure (M2M) algorithm for constructing N-particle models of stellar systems from observational data (χ2M2M), extending earlier ideas by Syer & Tremaine. The algorithm properly accounts for observational errors, is flexible, and can be applied to various systems and geometries. We implement this algorithm in a parallel code nmagic and carry out a sequence of tests to illustrate its power and performance. (i) We reconstruct an isotropic Hernquist model from density moments and projected kinematics and recover the correct differential energy distribution and intrinsic kinematics. (ii) We build a self-consistent oblate three-integral maximum rotator model and compare how the distribution function is recovered from integral field and slit kinematic data. (iii) We create a non-rotating and a figure rotating triaxial stellar particle model, reproduce the projected kinematics of the figure rotating system by a non-rotating system of the same intrinsic shape, and illustrate the signature of pattern rotation in this model. From these tests, we comment on the dependence of the results from χ2M2M on the initial model, the geometry, and the amount of available data