just want to try to clarify a few things about the nature of White Dwarfs and degenerate gases.
So if a white dwarf is help up by an electron degenerate gas, the electrons are unable to lose energy by emitting photons, correct? They basically are trapped at whatever energy level they occupy and that's that. The nuclei that make up the majority of the mass of the star are still constituents of a "normal" gas however, correct? This means that these nuclei and emit photons to lose kinetic energy? How does that work exactly? I understand that electron can emit photos inside an atom to drop to lower energy levels and that they can emit photons of any energy level if they are free (particularly if they're in a magnetic field, synchroton radiation, yeah?). To protons and neutrons do something similar? I ask because I never read anything about protons/nuclei emitting photons. If this basic picture is correct, is this the mechanism by which a white dwarf cools down over time?
Final bit, since most white dwarfs are quite hot, the peak wavelength is going to be in the UV. If I wanted to determine the percentage of such a star's luminosity that is given off in the optical, do I just need to integrate Planck's blackbody equation over the range of wavelengths I'm interested in and then compare that to the total luminosity given by $L = 4\pi R^2 \sigma T^4$?
Thanks and Cheers!