Imagine you're lighting a candle, and it emits yellow light. Because the candle flame is hot, the light is probably thermal (not atomic) in origin. Right? If you made a spectrum of the candle light, it would appear to be continuous, and that would confirm experimentally that the light was thermal in origin, or so my teacher tells me. But I have no idea why. I think I get the gist of atomic light. The way I understand, electrons in a certain type of atom absorb light of certain frequencies and then rerelease light of the same frequencies. (eg: neon burns red) But what's thermal light?? This whole concept drives me crazy.