We present MOLPOP-CEP, a universal line transfer code that allows the exact calculation of multi-level line emission from a slab with variable physical conditions for any arbitrary atom or molecule for which atomic data exist. The code includes error control to achieve any desired level of accuracy, providing full confidence in its results. Publicly available, MOLPOP-CEP employs our recently developed coupled escape probability (CEP) technique, whose performance exceeds other exact methods by orders of magnitude. The program also offers the option of an approximate solution with different variants of the familiar escape probability method. As an illustration of the MOLPOP-CEP capabilities we present an exact calculation of the Spectral Line Energy Distribution (SLED) of the CO molecule and compare it with escape probability results. We find that the popular large-velocity gradient (LVG) approximation is unreliable at large CO column densities. Providing a solution of the multi-level line transfer problem at any prescribed level of accuracy, MOLPOP-CEP is removing any doubts about the validity of its final results.

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Published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, v. 616, article no. A131, p. 1-9.

© ESO 2018

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AAR acknowledges financial support by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) through project AYA2014-60476-P.