Jason Shilling Kendall: Citizen Astronomer

William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

William Paterson University

Jason Kendall is adjunct instructor of Astronomy at William Paterson University.


Jason is teaching one section of General Astronomy in the Fall of 2019:

Online Introductory Astronomy Class

CRN: 44146, PHYS 1700-81, Online lectures and laboratory activities.

Modules: Home | Books | Labs | Modules: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | Extra


Module 13: The History of Gravity and of Astronomy

Supplements and Credits

Supplement the videos with "OpenStax Astronomy"


01: The Dawning of Astrophysics

Wherein we discuss the accomplishments of Nicolas Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler in the advancement of science. We talk about the transition to a heliocentric model, and how the groundwork was laid for it to be supported eventually by Newton.


02: Galileo, the Father of Science

Here we discuss the accomplishments (and failures) of Galileo Galilei, Father of Modern Science.


03: Galileo's Denouement

Here we see the effect of Galileo’s work around him and the work that surrounded him. Jeremiah Horrox predicted and observed a transit of Venus, the book Galileo should have written was finally done, the Geocentric model holds its head up for one more fight, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa legend was born.


04: Newton's Laws as well as his Guidelines

We finally get to Newton’s Laws of Motion, and his Law of Gravity. We also talk about centers of mass and other things related to the understanding of orbits. They provide a framework for predicting the motions of the planets around the Sun. And how everything moves.


05: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Equation?

A diversion into the nature of mathematics. I find that a lot of people have a fear of math. I make it a point in my classes to overcome that fear if at all possible.


06: And Yet It Moves: Galileo Vindicated

Wherein we discuss exactly how we know the Earth moves. We learn about parallax and stellar aberration. Finally, we can say for certain that the Earth moves, even though we don’t feel it. Thus science gives us one of the first answers that goes against “common sense,” but is nonetheless true.


07: Wave Motions Everywhere

It’s another chalk-and-talk, where I describe what wave motion is and how it applies to water, sound and light.


08: The Emerging Ideas about Light

Now we begin to understand the origin of our current understanding of the nature of light. We learn about the progress of both the particle and wave explanations of light through history.


09: Newton's Corpuscles of Light: So Close, but So Far....

Newton’s contribution to the understanding of light. We learn about his corpuscles and how they are not waves. As we traverse the history of light and understand how it grows with time, we see how great minds tried to wrestle with big ideas as the ideas arose and the experiments that supported them became possible. We see their missteps and we learn from them. We also see how the science endeavor is a truly human one, with all our foibles and strengths on display.


10: The End of Newton's Theory of Light

The theory of light advances. Young’s double-slit experiment and Fresnel’s investigation of diffraction puts the nail into Newton’s corpuscles. The solidification of the waves theory of light, however, will circle around to bite the world in the derrière.


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