Hyperion documentation


This is the documentation for Hyperion, a three-dimensional dust continuum Monte-Carlo radiative transfer code. Models are set up via Python scripts, and are run using a compiled Fortran code, optionally making use of the Message Passing Interface (MPI) for parallel computing.


Before you proceed, please make sure you have read the following disclaimers:

  • The developers cannot guarantee that the code is bug-free, and users should sign up to the mailing list to ensure that they are informed as soon as bugs are identified and fixed. The developers cannot be held responsible for incorrect results, regardless of whether these arise from incorrect usage, a bug in the code, or a mistake in the documentation.
  • Users should read the Important Notes before using Hyperion. In particular, users are fully responsible for ensuring that parameters such as photon numbers and grid resolution are adequate for the problem being studied. Hyperion will not raise errors if these inputs are inadequate.

If your work makes use of Hyperion, please cite:

Robitaille, 2011, HYPERION: an open-source parallelized three-dimensional dust continuum radiative transfer code, Astronomy & Astrophysics 536 A79 (ADS, BibTeX).

If you need consulting on using Hyperion beyond the current documentation, then please contact me with details of your project.

Note on units and constants

All quantities in Hyperion are expressed in the cgs system. Throughout the documentation, constants are sometimes used in place of values (e.g. au, pc). These can be imported (in Python) using:

from hyperion.util.constants import *

or, to control which constants are imported:

from hyperion.util.constants import au, pc, lsun

See hyperion.util.constants for more details.


Hyperion is currently being developed by Thomas Robitaille.

Interested in contributing fixes or patches to the code or documentation? Read Contributing to Hyperion for more details! If you are interested in developing new features, contact me and we can discuss how to coordinate efforts.

A great thanks to the following users whose help with testing early versions of Hyperion was invaluable:

  • Katharine Johnston
  • Nils Lippok
  • Stella Offner
  • Sarah Ragan
  • Andrew Schechtman-Rook
  • Amy Stutz
  • Barbara Whitney
  • Mike Wolff