As I understand it a blackbody spectrum is continuous – every possible frequency between the upper and lower bounds for that specific spectrum is there. When we look at the sun (mainly hydrogen) or a tungsten filament (comprised of one element only) we observe a continous spectrum between the upper and lower frequency range for that object. However, each element has its own unique discrete emission spectrum which I cannot see accounting for the continous range of frequencies seen in the black body curves. What is happening at the atomic/subatomic level to cause generate the continuous observed spectra?
The only explanation I can think of is that deexcitation of electrons is not the source of the light but rather it is the vibrations of the whole atom (which increase in frequency with temperature), and hence the oscillating electrons and protons within, that ‘generate’ the time-varying field which is the EM waves.
I have already looked at all previous threads to related blackbody questions and this answer in below in quotations is the closest to what I am after but if this is correct more detail on how a collection of atoms have an increased range of energy levels would be appreciated!
"In a hand waving sense, the black body radiation is also due to transitions between energy levels in the lattices of the bodies, but these are dense enough to become a continuum, as the approximation of the black body radiation shows, fitting the black body spectrum."