This page describes projects that have been done by astronomy students of Professor Mattox at FSU for extra-credit.


Starshot Initiative

You may study the Starshot Initiative for up to 12 points of extra-credit.

What velocity is needed for human hardware to reach the nearest star in 20 years?

How can this velocity be obtained?

How can the images be sent back?

What other details of this initiative are significant?

How much might it cost?

How might this money be raised?


Foucault Pendulum

You may study the FSU Foucault Pendulum for up to 20 points of extra-credit. The form is here: foucault pendulum extracredit.


Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey

Each of these 13 episodes by Neil deGrasse Tyson is now available on disc (or streaming through Netflix).

The forms for you to use to report on each episode (for up to 10 points per episode) are linked below. Print each and fill it out (or better, edit before printing) and turn it in for evaluation.  You may submit a report for any specific episode for only one FSU class (NSCI 110, ASTR 111, or ASTR 112).

You may also watch these two videos: one, two, and report in writing on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s views on racism for up to 10 points of extra credit.

Cosmos episode 1;Cosmos episode 2;Cosmos episode 3;Cosmos episode 4;Cosmos episode 5;Cosmos episode 6;Cosmos episode 7;Cosmos episode 8;Cosmos episode 9;Cosmos episode 10;Cosmos episode 11;Cosmos episode 12;Cosmos episode 13.



Meditation sessions are offered in the Planetarium (in the LS building) on Wednesday from 11-11:50 am (Fall semester, 2016)

You can earn up to 15 points of extra credit for participating in your first session; and up to the following number of points for each subsequent session:10 for session 2, 9 for session 3, 8 for session 4, 7 for session 5, 6 for session 6, 5 for session 7, 5 for session 8, etc.  For your first session, use Meditation Report – first session; for subsequent sessions, use Meditation Report – subsequent session.


Extra Credit (up to 20 points) Lecture by Carolyn Porco on the Cassini Mission to Saturn

For  up to 20 points of Extra Credit, watch this video recording by the Silicon Valley Astronomy Society of Carolyn Porco on 10/7/2015 lecturing on the Cassini Mission to Saturn, and submit a report that includes responses to the following. The total recording is  98 minute. The last 27 minutes are Q&A.

How has Carolyn Porco participated in the Cassini mission?

For whom is the Cassini Space Craft named? hint, examine this Wikipedia article.

How did Cassini get to Saturn?

Why did Cassini’s Jupiter passage (and gravitational boost) on the eve of 1/1/2001 have special significance for folks of Carolyn Porco’s age?

Why did Cassini have to burn half of its initial mass in rocket fuel to go into a Saturn orbit? How did its orbit around Saturn subsequently evolve?

What is the Hexagon at the north pole of Saturn? What is at its center?

Why does Saturn’s moon Daphnis create 2 mile high ripples on the edge of the Keeler Gap?

What did the Huygens Probe show to be on the surface of Saturn’s moon, Titan?

What does the radar imaging show on the surface of Titan at the poles?

What materials were found to be streaming out of the cracks at the south pole of Enceladus?

What might be in the snow there?

What did Porco and Carl Sagan aspire to do with the Voyager camera?

What is the “Day the Earth Smiled”?

What does Carolyn say will be done with the Cassini spacecraft when it is no longer to be used? Why? (addressed 2 minutes into the Q&A)


Additional Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures

You may watch and report on additional Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures for up to 15 points per lecture.



Participate in FSU Astronomy Open House for extra-credit

These events are available to NSCI 110 students as well as FSU Astronomy students. You may invite friends and family to come with you.

Event details are here.


Review the  Movie  “Intersteller” for up to 12 points extra-credit, here is the intersteller report form.


Photogragh a Market House Sunrise

You can photograph a Market House Sunrise in downtown Fayetteville for up to 20 points of extra-credit. One of your photos must include you in the picture, and your submission must include an explanation for why this photo can only be taken (under optimal conditions) on Nov. 11 and Jan. 29 of each year. The alignment is close enough for this a day before and a day after the optimal dates.

The best time to photograph it through the Market House Arch will be a few minutes after the actual time of Sunrise, which will be 6:46 am EST on Nov. 11, and 7:18 am EST on Jan. 29. Why is this?
Your report should also explain (to an accuracy of about 5 minutes) why these sunrise times differ (on the optimal dates) by 32 minutes even though the Sun is at the same declination (18 degrees south of the equator) on both dates. You may do this project for either ASTR 111 or ASTR 112 at FSU (but not both).