Jason Shilling Kendall: Citizen Astronomer

William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

National Media Personality

Public Science Advocate
I've been on numerous national television and radio shows, talking about current events in Astronomy. I've appeared on WNYC, NBC, CBS, FOX and in the New York Times. I was a major media personality for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.


William Paterson University

I'm an adjunct instructor of Astronomy at William Paterson University. I am also the "Astronomy Liaison Coordinator" at WPU. This means I create original content and do public speaking and events at WPU about current news in Astronomy, Physics and other sciences. I've taught introductory Astronomy at WPU since 2011. I try to make my class innovative and interesting, featuring unique assignments and activities.
YouTube Lecture Series
The core of my online section are the videos I created expressly for this purpose. In 100 videos, I cover an entire semester of a typical introductory astronomy college class. I do go a bit deeper than most, but that's what makes it mine. These videos can also be used as a low-level Astrophysics class.


WTC Survivor

I was one of the late people on 9/11/01. I worked on the 103rd Floor of World Trade Center One at Cantor Fitzgerald, and I am still with the company today. The link to the left is the story I wrote a few days hours after the event. Part of the reason I started back up doing astronomy was because I remembered from my youth how important the night sky was and how it filled me with wonder. To this day, it does. A full moon on a slightly couldy night is magic. A photometrically perfect dark sky where, with a small telescope, you can see the rings of Saturn has always led me to a higher place. I attended the January meeting of the AAS in 2002, and I brought back hundreds of posters to my co-workers from the meeting. They snapped them up and took them home. The dark night sky and the wonders of the cosmos gave them not just a distraction from our huge loss, but hope of a better world.


About Jason Kendall


I am currently adjunct faculty at both Hunter College and William Paterson University teaching Astronomy and Physics. I hold a Master of Science in Astronomy from New Mexico State University. Since 2008, I have worked with the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York to bring stargazing and public astronomy outreach to upper Manhattan. Most notably, I speaheaded the historic Inwood Star Fest, where Inwood Hill Park lights were turned off as part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy event in IYA2009. This was the first time in New York City history when park lights were turned off for an astronomy event. I've also focused on park safety due to an uptick in sexual assaults in Washington Heights and Inwood during 2011. I've worked to make our parks safer by encouraging public use of parks at night through night-time events with Park Rangers. I have led numerous "starwatching parties" and astronomy events in New York City, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas. I am also proud to have been part of the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Program from 2009 to 2012. It all started way back in the fourth grade by the encouragement of two noted astronomers, Charles Schweighauser and Bart Bok. I saw Saturn through Charlie's telescope at then Sangamon State University on a clear Illinois night, and Bart encouraged me under those stars to study hard to come visit him at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I finally did make it down there about a decade after Bart passed away, and I found the favorite spots in Tucson, Arizona, where Bart and his wife Priscilla would spend when they were not gazing at the stars. Bart and his wife were pioneers in the study of the Milky Way, and their studies of the starforming regions called Bok Globules. It's even in my family. My great-grandfather was a Midwestern minister who used to preach his sermons out under the dark, cloudless nights. He always believed that getting out and experiencing the wonders of the natural world was a central part of being human. My family has always been inspired by his words: "We look up to look within." I hope that you'll join me under the stars or at one of my talks.

Come see what's up in the sky!

Jason Kendall

We look up to look within


Your Local Neighborhood Astronomer

"June Skies" an interview on The Weather Channel's, "Wake Up With Al Roker"

The Vibrant City

New York City once could see the Milky Way from an evening sky. And this was just fifty years ago. The simple act of looking up and talking about the stars at night is a great introduction to science. We hope to bring our diverse community out and under the skies. We want to show, once again, that the night sky is for all people. The lessons, knowledge, wonder and romance of those little lights in the sky crosses all cultures and all languages. All cultures own the stars in their stories and in their histories. We all feel the same awe and quiet when we look up in the sky. This yearning to know what is out there has spawned mythologies and drawn mankind to the first tentative footsteps on the Moon. It is my hope to inspire a renewed interest in the most wondrous of all our natural resources: the night sky. We also hope to strike the spark of curiosity in the youth of our neighborhood. Who knows? The kid playing stickball in the hot summer streets might grow up to build a rocket to the Moon.

International Year of Astronomy

Under the moniker "Inwood Astronomy Project", Jason undertook to participate deeply in the International Year of Astronomy in 2009. This global public outreach effort was declared and supported by the United Nations agency UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union. One of the big goals of this international and global effort was to have one million people look through a telescope during that year. This was the primary focus of the Inwood Astronomy Project. Driven by the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first looking through a telescope at the Heavens, we sought to get 5000 New Yorkers to look through a telescope for the first time. Intending to hold 100 stargazing sessions in 2009, I managed to do about 52. To do it, I didn't let a little sky brightness (well a LOT of sky brightness...) stand in our way. In fact, I used the street lights and corners and parks to safely show the wonders of the night sky to people in Manhattan who may never have looked through a telescope in their lives. With the support of the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, we did very well in this goal.

Conference Proceedings and Presentations


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