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ATLAS12 is an opacity sampling model atmosphere program to allow computation of models with individual abundances using line data. ATLAS12 is able to compute the same models as ATLAS9 which uses pretabulated opacities, plus models with arbitrary abundances. ATLAS12 sampled fluxes are quite accurate for predicting the total flux except in the intermediate or narrow bandpass intervals because the sample size is too small.
ATLAS9 computes model atmospheres using a fixed set of pretabulated opacities, allowing one to work on huge numbers of stars and interpolate in large grids of models to determine parameters quickly. The code works with two different sets of opacity distribution functions (ODFs), one with “big” wavelength intervals covering the whole spectrum and the other with 1221 “little” wavelength intervals covering the whole spectrum. The ODFs use a 12-step representation; the radiation field is computed starting with the highest step and working down. If a lower step does not matter because the line opacity is small relative to the continuum at all depths, all the lower steps are lumped together and not computed to save time.