Jason Shilling Kendall: Citizen Astronomer

William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

Introductory Astronomy Online Course

My own personal MOOC.
This is a series of introductory lectures on astronomy and astrophysics. My goal is to eventually have a complete online course covering nearly all areas of introductory astronomy in lecture form. In doing this series, I will be violating a number of "good video" practices, including video runtime length, number of technical events, and the use of flashy graphics and music. The reason is that I am trying to demonstrate what it means to internalize and talk about a subject off-the-cuff for 15 minutes or more. It is not often that people do this, and frequently, you only get this in a full college course, which this series seeks to emulate. This can also be used to supplement your own coursework in your astronomy class.


    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




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