The Science of the Solar System

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10/10 stars
based on  348 reviews
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FREE,
Add a Verified Certificate for $49

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Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4807 reviews

Course Description

Learn about the science behind the current exploration of the solar system in this free class. Use principles from physics, chemistry, biology, and geology to understand the latest from Mars, comprehend the outer solar system, ponder planets outside our solar system, and search for habitability in our neighborhood and beyond. This course is generally taught at an advanced level assuming a prior knowledge of undergraduate math and physics, but the majority of the concepts and lectures can be understood without these prerequisites. The quizzes and final exam are designed to make you think critically about the material you have learned rather than to simply make you memorize facts. The class is expected to be challenging but rewarding.
The Science of the Solar System course image
Reviews 10/10 stars
348 Reviews for The Science of the Solar System

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Philipp Salzgeber profile image
Philipp Salzgeber profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
I have some university education on the topic, but this has been a long time ago so I reall enjoyed learning so much new stuff about the solar system. Highly recommended for anyone interested in astronomy.
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8/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 12 months ago
Amateur astronomy enthusiast, enjoys space science. Really loved the course, recommended. Science level surprisingly high, and there's a lot of material to cover. Main lecturer is excellent, guest lecturers a bit uneven.
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Clinton Leaker profile image
Clinton Leaker profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Outstanding course. It is peppered with a little bit of math, but not much (except for week 4 only). The math is primarily elementary algebra, so don't be intimidated. The course showers you with lots of interesting information, as well as, beautiful photos. The professor is not boring in the least bit. It is a very good course for those who have a curiosity in Astronomy but lack the background/history in astronomical studies.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
Mike Brown is terrific. Complex material, but Mike tried to bring much of it down to earth, so to speak. I have had a life long layman's interest in cosmology and this course has been very helpful in connecting what were isolated 'dots' of knowledge. Mike talks really fast. Some of the material is complex with too much detail to retain my interest. However, I understand there is a wide audience here with varying degrees in background. All in all a great job. I really enjoyed the program. THANK YOU!!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
This was a really great course. I did not take the course for college credit. There were some lectures that were a little (okay, a lot) over my head, but the instructor gave fair warning when the math/physics were going to get serious. And he still made the content interesting and relevant. Most of the lectures were not math/physics heavy and were presented in an easy-to- understand manner.
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João Romário profile image
João Romário profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
I teach astronomy for kids and teenagers, having completed a postgraduate course and lots of short courses on astronomy. This course was the sixth one related to the subject I took on Coursera and I must say it was the best one, head to head with Duke University's "Introduction to Astronomy", by Ronen Plesser. Professor Brown knows how to stimulate curiosity, challenging our intelligence and offering us relevant data and discussions. Highly recommended!
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Marlena Siwiak profile image
Marlena Siwiak profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Apart from "Introduction to Astronomy" by Duke University and "Calculus: Single Variable", one of the best Coursera courses I took so far (out of a dozen). Contains: \- Entertaining lectures with a lot of new and interesting information (not covered in any astronomy courses on Coursera I took so far), plus details on how the stuff was discovered, so one could decide his own how credible the hypotheses are. \- The right level of details for a person like me i.e. unprofessional enthusiast. \- Information presented in a well- organized, accessible fashion. \- Homeworks not too easy, with emphasis on rational thinking rather than learning formulas by heart. \- Excellent lecturer with good sense of humor. Highly recommended!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
A fabulous course, it goes into some detail, but I never felt swamped. I loved the style of lectures, and the homeworks were challenging but thought provoking. I'm really sad it's over now.
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Filip Nowakowski profile image
Filip Nowakowski profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
This is the best course I've attended on Coursera. I've understood everything (I think so;) ) even thou I have no academic background in this subject. Professor Brown is an excellent teacher and his videos are very interesting, funny and addictive!
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Student

9/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
I enjoyed this class and learned a lot about how to think about planetary science by taking this course. The video lectures were interesting to me (although much too slow if I played them at anything slower than 1.5x speed.) The online homework was rather sparse, but the additional Caltech homework built quantitatively on the topics discussed qualitatively in class and did a good job cementing the material.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
I have a science background with a BS in physics and recently have completed 24 Coursera courses, including 5 in astronomy. This course is the most interesting, the most challenging, and easily the most current of all courses I have taken in both science and with respect to overall information presented. Congratulations Dr Brown! wonderful wonderful course!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
This is a great course for anyone looking to gain a little knowledge about our Solar System. The information presented is current and goes through the latest ideas on planetary and solar system formation, the possibility of life on Mars and various moons, and even a little on exoplanets. This course is a "Lite" version of one taught at Cal Tech and is a lot more detailed than I initially thought it might be. There are also links to some of the Cal Tech course materials if you want more information. Overall an excellent course.
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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
This was a great course. I am not dependent on the credit so I won't be too dismayed if I don't pass. The math portions were difficult or beyond me, but note well that we were informed ahead that they would be a challenge and I believe they are necessary for serious students seeking credit. I found the course overall to be rewarding, informative, and enjoyable.
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John Smith profile image
John Smith profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Excellent introduction to the topic for students with a basic scientific foundation. It really illuminates what space science, NASA and the ESA have been up to the past couple of decades.
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Josh Freeman profile image
Josh Freeman profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
I found this class fascinating. Dr. Brown breaks into 4 parts: Mars, The Gas/Ice Giants, Small Bodies, and Life in the Solar System. I have taken several astronomy classes in college (The joys of credits that don't transfer when you change schools), so I was used to the "Week 1: mercury, Week 2: Venus... approach. Dr. Brown's approach was much more interesting, and I think gives a much fuller appreciation to what's actually going on. Once nice feature of the class was that it was running in parallel with a course at Dr. Brown's home institution, Caltech. For those who wanted a more mathematically rigorous approach, the Caltech homework and course blog were made available. I had every intention of following along, but just flat out didn't have time.
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snuh fuh profile image
snuh fuh profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Great course and M. Brown is funny, personable, and a good teacher. Would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about the solar system. Additionally, he uses very recent info so--even if you already took one of these or read up on it via books from a few years ago--you will learn a lot.
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Særún Samúelsdóttir profile image
Særún Samúelsdóttir profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Excellent course. Even I had no experience with the subject I found it easy to understand almost everything math excluded. The professor was very enthusiastic which made everything come to alive.
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Doc Soman profile image
Doc Soman profile image
9/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
This is a fine course for hard-core science nerds, a group I am proud to claim membership in. But it's not for the faint of heart nor for those that break out into a sweat at the sight of an equation. Very pleased to have taken the time to work on this material. The course staff worked exceptionally hard to share their expertise and enthusiasm for planetery science. I feel the love here. Although it's a lot clearer now why poor little Pluto was demoted from planet status.
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james johnstone profile image
james johnstone profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
This course was taken as a retired observatory volunteer with a chemistry/math education. I found it an enjoyable experience of learning in a subject that I am not strong in. Mike did a terrific job of making the lectures interesting and I seldom wanted to skip to the next lecture. Highly recommend this for someone that is comfortable with the subject and concepts.
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Andrea Dudek profile image
Andrea Dudek profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
I have taken some adult education courses on astronomy and planetary sciences. This course was great - in-depth discussion of what we have here in our own back yard, what we know, what we don't know, what we'd like to know. If you're not into the math - just let it wash over you. Don't worry about it (unless you're going for a certificate). Study should be about things you don't particularly understand but can gleam their significance.
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Daniel Quinlan profile image
Daniel Quinlan profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Mike Brown was an excellent instructor for this well planned tour of (mostly) local astronomy and space missions, with an introduction to the discoveries made in the last fifty years or so and the underlying physics. I settled for watching all the lectures, which is why I put the difficulty as easy. One has the option of doing the homework that the CalTech students are doing, which definitely would put the needle at the other extreme. I found the lectures to be quite interesting and Mike Brown is a very animated speaker. Overall the course was very well organized, and I felt I learned a lot.
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Juan Zapata-Arauco profile image
Juan Zapata-Arauco profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Compared with past planetary/ exoplanetary courses this is exceptional in teaching quality and up to date in research papers needed reading on these themes. Correct answers to examination questions requiere long and deep analysis of all this research. For all this I put this course on the top level qualification.
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Charl Ze profile image
Charl Ze profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Amazing course or, should I say, amazing story(ies)! The presentation always focus on general ideas before getting to the more detailled points making it accessible to "learners" with no background. 7 hours per week should be enough to follow videos and do some follow through to "pass the homeworks" but careful, this class is highly adictive and you might easily end up spending more than 10 hours per week reading and thinking about the topic! A great experience
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Jimmy Szolomayer profile image
Jimmy Szolomayer profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
I absolutely loved this class experience. I've taken some online courses before, and most online courses are giving the answers to the homework. However, this class makes you listen and think about what is being talked about. There were many things that I loved about this class, such as Mike Brown's teaching style, the introduction to many topics, and how he had some TA's come in and teach a few lessons. In the beginning of the class, the quizzes were a bit rough with very weighted problems, but those got sorted out. All in all, best online class I've ever taken.
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Claudia Paetzold profile image
Claudia Paetzold profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Previously to taking this course I had an high-school-level-astronomy understanding of the solar system, so not anything special. I enrolled simply to broaden my horizon a bit and I was not disappointed. The course had a clear structure and was challenging but never too hard to follow. Prof. Brown and his TAs were highly motivated to break the subjects down so everybody can understand even the difficult parts. I especially liked that I was not just given the hard facts about the subjects but was instead taught HOW we know what we know about the solar system. The course taught the concepts, experiments and ideas behind deriving knolwdge about our solar system, which was fascinating and highly rewarding. a special feature was that the course went parallel to the actual class at Caltech, which provided an inside view into the students experiences and opinions about the subjects. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to ... Previously to taking this course I had an high-school-level-astronomy understanding of the solar system, so not anything special. I enrolled simply to broaden my horizon a bit and I was not disappointed. The course had a clear structure and was challenging but never too hard to follow. Prof. Brown and his TAs were highly motivated to break the subjects down so everybody can understand even the difficult parts. I especially liked that I was not just given the hard facts about the subjects but was instead taught HOW we know what we know about the solar system. The course taught the concepts, experiments and ideas behind deriving knolwdge about our solar system, which was fascinating and highly rewarding. a special feature was that the course went parallel to the actual class at Caltech, which provided an inside view into the students experiences and opinions about the subjects. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to learn how astrophysicists expand our knoledge about the universe we live in. Thank you rof. Brown.
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Karsten Kueppers profile image
Karsten Kueppers profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Prof. Brown is really an excellent and very enthusiastic teacher. The course somewhat emphasizes on Mars and Small Planets, but is a very good resource for the Gas Giants too. I liked the way Prof. Brown is providing information within the lectures, i.e. always with the proper amount of scepticism. The workload is higher than it is usually on MOOC's, because the video lectures cover that much material in such detail. But it's really worth watching or auditing this course if you are a "planetarian" or"space-enthusiast". There is only one little point of criticism about the Quizzes. The most questions go like : "What is not a good example for neglecting the misintepretation of the measurement of ... ?" But besides that, it is an marvelous course, which i can highly recommend.
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Teresa Fenn profile image
Teresa Fenn profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
This course was excellent. I had some geology previously, but no real physics or planetary science. Although the materials were hard at times, the explanations provided by Prof. Mike Brown were really clear. This is one of the best courses that I have taken, with excellent videos, lots of links to additional reading with links that work and homeworks/quizzes that challenge you making it a real achievement when you succeed. The coverage of subjects was wide and I have learnt so much, but there is still so much to learn. The best thing I can say about this course is that it has inspired me to go on and learn more. I would recommend this course wholeheartedly.
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Laurentiu Moisii profile image
Laurentiu Moisii profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
I had some basic knowledge about the solar system, but this was amazing experience. Very well presentations on every lecture with examples and a conclusions. It really change my view about the birth of our solar system.
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T Shoe profile image
T Shoe profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
This is an amazing class that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in astronomy and would like to go beyond the basic general knowledge level. Mike Brown is an excellent instructor, and he and the occasional guest lecturers are experts currently working on the topics they talk about, which is pretty exciting. Instead of trying to give a general overview of everything about solar system science, Mike Brown has decided to focus on a few topics and go into significant depth on each of them, though I found myself learning a lot of general information as well. I rated the difficulty "Hard" because for the average student with only a general science background, this class will require a lot of thinking, note-taking, and reviewing. I took astronomy and physics classes in college (long ago) and still found this class challenging. But I view that as a good thing and feel a real sense of accomplishment as we near the end of the... This is an amazing class that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in astronomy and would like to go beyond the basic general knowledge level. Mike Brown is an excellent instructor, and he and the occasional guest lecturers are experts currently working on the topics they talk about, which is pretty exciting. Instead of trying to give a general overview of everything about solar system science, Mike Brown has decided to focus on a few topics and go into significant depth on each of them, though I found myself learning a lot of general information as well. I rated the difficulty "Hard" because for the average student with only a general science background, this class will require a lot of thinking, note-taking, and reviewing. I took astronomy and physics classes in college (long ago) and still found this class challenging. But I view that as a good thing and feel a real sense of accomplishment as we near the end of the course.
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Katherine Dowton profile image
Katherine Dowton profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
I had taken Astronomy in my undergrad years but only the one course. I have always wanted to know more. I found this course fascinating from beginning to end. It was one of the most interesting and engaging courses I have ever taken. Mike Brown is a wonderful teacher and I found the rhythm of the course and the amount of knowledge in each section to be easily followed and well documented. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to know more about our Solar System and Universe. Thanks so much, Mike, for a wonderful overall experience!
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