Jason Shilling Kendall: Citizen Astronomer

William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

William Paterson University

Jason Kendall is adjunct instructor of Astronomy at William Paterson University.

Jason is teaching one sections of Introduction to Astronomy in the Spring of 2016:

Saturday Night Class

CRN: 11282, PHYS 1700-90, Traditional lecture and lab. Saturdays from 2pm to 4:30pm and 5pm to 7:30PM.

Required Materials

This is the best and most exciting science class at William Paterson University. Not only do you get to learn about the most amazing things you can ever learn, and get free coffee every night, but you also get to learn how to use a telescope and see the heavens first-hand.

Also, this section will go on a trip to a major observatory in New Jersey to use the telescopes there. In all, it's really the best way to spend a Saturday night, and you get extra credit for bringing your significant other, your niece, nephew, son or daughter, mother or father, grandmother or grandfather.

Yeah, it's a hard sell, but without a doubt, I try my best to make it worth your while. I don't just teach this class because it's my income. I teach it because it's really amazing stuff.

You can read some of the writing I do for kids on astronomy here: http://htekidsnews.com/earth20/ and here: http://htekidsnews.com/life-on-mars/. A little more advanced is here: http://jasonkendall.com/articles/20130213.shtml

The Big Bang

The Planck mission team showed that the Cosmic Microwave Background tells us that the universe is 13.82 billion years old. Space is expanding at an exponetial rate due to Dark Energy. All the elements in the universe were formed in the first four minutes of existence.

Black Holes

What's a black hole? There's a big black hole at the center of the Milky Way. UCLA under Andrea Gerz has imaged this area. Hubble finds that the nearest quasar is powered by a double black hole. NASA's NUSTAR X-ray telescope sees big black holes everywhere. Other news from NASA about black holes. And a stellar-mass black hole: Cygnus X-1.


An Earth-like planet around a sun-like star. The first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of its star. Way too cool. The Kepler Space Telescope team has found four planets in the habitable zones of their stars, and thousands of planets around other stars. 1030 confirmed planets around other stars.


Ancient habitable locations on Mars: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-181 and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1438

Laboratory Activities

We do many lab activities in this class. Click here for resources for the activities.


There are only 13 sessions. Be in class. It's really important. Read the syllabus.

William Paterson University Department of Physics American Astronomical Society Amateur Astronomers Association of New York Astronomical Society of the Pacific