Jason Kendall's Intro to Astronomy Course

Adjunct faculty in Physics at William Paterson University

The Most Challenging Video Series 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 series that merges science with the greatest aspirations of human thought.

This series 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.


Full Class Video Series

Below are 14 Modules of videos, all hosted on YouTube, which will take you through an entire introductory, college-level astronomy class.


Public Lectures


Video References


Textbooks for Learning Astronomy


Stargazing Resources

What Telescope Should I Buy?

The short answer is NONE. Don't go buy one ever until you've gone to look through some with amateur astronomy clubs near you. Learn about what you might buy. And you really really really must buy that scope, buy your first one used from Cloudy Nights. I've bought many telescopes that way, and it's littered with good ideas and experienced observers who want to move to a new telescope. It's the best place to look. So, go see if a club is near you from the ones listed below.


Stargazing Conditions: Can We See the Stars Tonight?


Astronomy Clubs and Associations


Popular Publications


Profesional Publications


Nifty Tools


International Year of Astronomy


Professional Astronomy Organizations


Other Resources


Solar System and Exoplanets

  1. Overview
  2. Mars
  3. Moon
  4. Voyager
  5. Exoplanets with Kepler Space Telescope and TESS