Blanketing effect

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The blanketing effect (also referred to as line blanketing or the line-blanketing effect) is the enhancement of the red or infrared regions of a stellar spectrum at the expense of the other regions, with an overall diminishing effect on the whole spectrum. The term originates in a 1928 article by astrophysicist Edward Arthur Milne, where it was used to describe the effects that the astronomical metals in a star's outer regions had on that star's spectrum.[1] The name arose because the absorption lines act as a "blanket", causing the continuum temperature of the spectrum to rise over what it would have been if these lines were not present.[2]

Astronomical metals, which produce most of a star's spectral absorption lines, absorb a fraction of the star's radiant energy (a phenomenon known as the blocking effect) and then re-emit it at a lower frequency as part of the backwarming effect.[3] The combination of both these effects results in the position of stars in a color-color diagram to shift towards redder areas as the proportion of metals in them increases. The blanketing effect is thus highly dependent on the metallicity index of a star, which indicates the fraction of elements other than hydrogen and helium that compose it.


  1. ^ Milne, E. A. "The total absorption in the Sun's reversing layer". The Observatory. 51: 88&ndash, 96. Bibcode:1928Obs....51...88M.
  2. ^ Sandage, Allan R.; Eggen, Olin J. "On the existence of subdwarfs in the (Mbol, log Te)-diagram". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: 278&ndash, 296. Bibcode:1959MNRAS.119..278S. doi:10.1093/mnras/119.3.278.
  3. ^ Straižys, Vytautas (1992). Multicolor Stellar Photometry. Tucson: Pachart Publishing House.

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