Jason Shilling Kendall: Citizen Astronomer

William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

Introductory Astronomy Online Course

This is a series of introductory lectures on Astronomy and Astrophysics that will be the basis for my upcoming online couse at William Paterson University. This series is meant to serve many masters, and two in particular. I hope to give a lively introduction to Astronomy, demonstrating the core ideas as well as diving into some areas of greater interest to people who want to know a bit more. I don't shy away from equations and maths, but I also assume that you're going to be getting much of that material either in your own class or by searching online. Under each video, I provide a huge number of relevant web links, to either Wikipedia articles, which do tend to be overly expanive in their offerings, or to primary source materials, such as NASA mission websites, journal articles or author's websites. The web links are there to provide help and deeper understanding, and are not necessarily the path for a pure beginner, though they can be. This web series should probably be used alongside a traditional textbook in astronomy, in order to help the instructor or mentor guide the students into their own pedagogy. Actually, any good public-oriented introductory astronomy book would be a good companion to this series, or even some children's books too. At some point, I'll try to assemble some good textbooks for you to get or use alongside these videos. I don't expect you to learn the topic by just watching the videos. I expect that you're doing your own reading and coming away with your own critical eye. In this regard, these lectures are just that: my perspective on it. I do like observational perspectives, and I do try to introduce, as much as possible, actual photographs and images, as well as original works by the original authors. I think it's important for people to build a visual vocabulary of astronomy, so you can understand the nature of the funny shapes and wondrous views and vistas of the cosmos.


    The Early World

  1. Finding our way around the sky, and our Place in Space
  2. Earth's orbit and tilt. The Seasons, the Year and the Day
  3. Lunacy! Phases, Eclipses and Orbit of the Moon.
  4. Distance, Parallax and Parsecs
  5. How Round the Earth? How Far the Sun?
  6. I Got the Sun in the Mornin' and the Moon at Night...
  7. Why did we once think Earth was at the center?

    The Rise and Birth of Science

  8. The Dawning of Astrophysics
  9. Galileo, the Father of Science
  10. Galileo's Denouement
  11. Newton's Laws as well as his Guidelines
  12. Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Equation?
  13. And Yet It Moves: Galileo Vindicated
  14. Wave Motions Everywhere
  15. The Emerging Ideas about Light
  16. Newton's Corpuscles of Light: So Close, but So Far....
  17. The End of Newton's Theory of Light

    Classical Physics Meets its Destiny

  18. Faraday, Maxwell and the Aether
  19. The Speed of Light and the Michelson Morley Experiment
  20. The Great Relativistic Conundrum
  21. Special Relativity's Implications
  22. Special Relativity in Detail
  23. General Relativity Raison d'être
  24. General Relativity Curvature and Tests
  25. General Relativity: The Bending of Light's Path
  26. General Relativity, The Slowing of Time by Gravity
  27. The Tides

    Light and Matter

  28. The Nature of Light, Part 1
  29. The Nature of Light, Part 2
  30. Stellar Brightness and Magnitudes
  31. Color and Temperature
  32. Kirchhoff's Laws of Spectroscopy
  33. Atoms, Elements and Isotopes
  34. The History of the Atom
  35. The Bohr Model of the Atom

    The Tools of Astronomy

  36. Telescopes, part 1: Refraction and Reflection
  37. Telescopes, part 2: Angular Resolution and Seeing
  38. Telescopes, part 3: Plate Scale, Focal Ratio and Magnification
  39. Extremely Basic Concepts about CCDs
  40. Big Telescopes and High Resolution
  41. Radio Telescopes
  42. Space-Based Telescopes
  43. All Sky Astronomy Surveys

    The Sun

  44. The Sun's Bulk Properties
  45. The Sun's Surface Appearance
  46. The Core of the Sun
  47. Energy Transport inside the Sun
  48. What Powers the Sun?
  49. The Solar Neutrino Problem

    Measuring the Stars

  50. Stellar Spectral Classification
  51. Parallax and Proper Motion
  52. Binary Stars: Visual and Spectroscopic
  53. Binary Stars: Stellar Masses from Eclipsing and Spectroscopic Binaries, PLUS Proxima "b"
  54. Binary Stars 3; The Mass of Proxima b and Stellar Masses
  55. The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
  56. Stellar Radii
  57. Stellar Mass, Luminosity and Lifespan
  58. Spectroscopic Parallax
  59. Star Clusters and Stellar Evolution




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