Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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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.

  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?
  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
  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
  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
  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

About Jason Kendall

I am currently adjunct faculty at William Paterson University teaching astronomy. I hold a Master of Science in Astronomy from New Mexico State University. I am also a board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. Since 2008, I have led the Inwood Astronomy Project which brought over 200 events of stargazing and public astronomy outreach to upper Manhattan, including 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

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

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