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 section of General Astronomy in the Spring of 2019:

Online Introductory Astronomy Class

CRN: 13935, PHYS 1700-81, Online lectures and lab.

Modules: Home | Labs | 5 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 8, part 1 | 8, part 2 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 1 | 2 | 3


Jason's Public Lectures

The Most Challenging Class You’ll Ever Love.

The science of astronomy is without a doubt the most interesting and fascinating thing you’ll ever work on. We will deal with the origin of the Earth, the Sun and the Universe. We’ll learn the names of stars, and how to find them in the sky. We’ll learn about ancient oceans on Mars and planets around other stars. We’ll glimpse the madness of the surface of a neutron star, where you would weigh as much as a mountain if you stood on it. We’ll witness the gossamer beauty of interstellar clouds, which are the birthplace of stars. We’ll dive into a black hole where space and time crush together into a maelstrom of destruction. We’ll learn what a shooting star is, and how you can find them. We’ll see distant galaxies, all homes to billions of stars and countless planets. We’ll tour Saturn’s rings, and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. We’ll even take a trip with a spacecraft all the way out to distant Pluto.

In so doing, we’ll learn how the physical laws that we measure in the laboratory here on Earth apply to the Moon, the stars and places far beyond. We’ll learn how to link physical arguments together to see why things work they way they do. The universe is filled with mysteries, but they are unlocked and made even more mysterious in that we can actually understand them.

Natural Philosophy is the study of how logic and evidence links ideas together to come up with explanations for how things work in the real world. We don’t have to rely on demons or gods to tell us how things work, and why they go the way they do. We rely of Newton’s Laws of Motion, Einstein’s Relativity, Maxwell’s Laws of Electromagnetism, and the wildly counterintuitive world of quantum mechanics. For many centuries of human existence, we looked at the sky wondered how it all came to be. Now, in this golden era of knowledge and exploration, humanity is coming close to truly understanding the origin of the universe, and discovering whether or not life could actually have arisen more than once in our Solar System.

Don’t get me wrong, the ideas are quite challenging, the vocabulary is odd, and the logic that links things together can take serious mental gymnastics, and you’ll have to do more reading than you thought you would ever have to for an intro course. But the rewards are great, with this liberal art class that merges science with the greatest aspirations of human thought.

This class will feed and water your inner 6-year-old, and inspire you with wonder. Every kid loved dinosaurs and planets. Now you get to go back and be that kid again.


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