Jason Shilling Kendall: Citizen Astronomer

William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

Take Back The Park
June 15, 2011 8:30 PM to 11:00 PM.

A stargazing event in support of community safety.

Thanks to all who joined us. We had about 100 peple show up to look through the telescopes. Joining me with astronomy equipment were Howard Fink, Bruce Kamiat and Ji Yong Chung. We were also joined by a couple of members of the Inwood Safety Patrol, and a lively group of local hulahoopers. They were great to have out there! In all it was a resounding success, and me stayed out until about 11, as the clouds marched in.

In light of this past weekend's events in Washington Heights and Inwood, it is time the community comes together. We must discuss ways that we can prevent the sexual assaults against the women of our community.

Please click here to read about it.

Please join me under the stars at the baseball diamonds in Inwood Hill Park after 8:30 PM to have a community discussion. We need to use our Park at night, and not give it up to those that would rob and harm us. It is not their Park. It is ours. If we don't use the Park, we give it up to drug-dealers, prostitutes and violent criminals. We must not let that happen.

To that end, I'll bring out my telescope and show off the heavens. Saturn is high in the sky, and so is the Moon. Both are wonderful through a telescope. Saturn's rings leap out, and the rays of the Moon's craters make striking views. By simply coming outdoors into our Park at night to see the stars and planets, you support the safe and responsible use of the Park.

Astronomy is the study of What's Out There. We study it because we are drawn to the hopefulness and wonder that we feel when we see the stars. For some, the stars are where they look for a better life. For some, the stars are guiding lights that affirm faith. For all, the night sky gives us reason to pause and reflect on who we are. My great-grandfather was a minister back in the latter part of the 19th century in rural Indiana. He used to take his cart out to the fields and preach about hope for the future, self-reflection and how to be part of a greater community. Stories from my father and grandfather tell of Great-grandfather Kendall giving hushed sermons under cool, clear night skies. My grandfather said that he would always end such communions with the benediction that "We look up to look within."

Now it is time for our community to look within and to look up.

I urge you to forward this invite to everyone you know.

I hope to see you on Wednesday night.


We will be in the baseball diamonds near the entrance at Seaman and Isham Streets. Please see the map below. To arrive by subway, take the "A" train to the last stop. Come out the stairs at the front of the train, and go up the hill alongside the church. This entrance is right in front of you. The distance between the Meeting Place and the subway is two short blocks at Isham and Seaman Streets. Click here to learn more about Inwood Hill Park. You do not need to bring a telescope. I will provide a 15" Obsession Telescope to look through. It is an amazing view of the heavens. You'll see planets, stars and nebulae!

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