Astrophysics (Index)About

continuous spectrum

(smooth spectrum or portion of spectrum with no lines)

The term continuous spectrum (or continuum) refers to a spectrum or portion of a spectrum that is smooth, i.e., with no spectral lines or other discontinuities like the Balmer jump. Black-body radiation ideally has such a continuous spectrum. The term is also used to refer to the spectrum on either side of a specific spectral line, or what the spectrum would be without that line, used in describing the line's depth or shape.

The term discrete spectrum refers to an unsmooth spectrum, e.g., with lines.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
absorption line
Balmer jump (BJ)
black-body radiation
continuum emission
emission line
full width at half maximum (FWHM)
Kirchhoff's laws
line blanketing
line broadening
star formation rate (SFR)
spectral line
21-cm line