The Science of the Solar System

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10/10 stars
based on  351 reviews
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Course Details

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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
4838 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
351 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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Vibha Padmanabhan profile image
Vibha Padmanabhan profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
2 years ago
This was an extremely informative, engaging, and interesting course. It really helped me grasp the physics of planetary systems and made me think deeply about everything explained in the lectures. Prof. Mike Brown did a great job delivering the lectures and providing relevant resources and updates from the scientific field. I enjoyed the weekly quiz questions especially. Overall, the course was challenging but well worth it.
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Theo Wellington profile image
Theo Wellington profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
2 years, 1 month ago
I enjoy this class enough that I came back a second time to get some of the new data from recent missions. This is just a great primer on what we know and how we know our our solar system. Should be required for secondary science teachers and informal educators (museums, planetariums).
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Pat Crabb profile image
Pat Crabb profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
2 years, 1 month ago
The Sky at Night - with tests ! Mike Brown MA ybe - is a little smug and annoying at times and his pen-work on the slides is a little obscure but no worse than the guest lecturers. The tests are mostly fair, but some questions are posed obscurely . . "which of the following are not reasons against . . . " is more a test of literacy than science.
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Cris DeWolf profile image
Cris DeWolf profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 1 month ago
Great course. Mike Brown does an excellent job of making the material accessible to all, even though it was quite difficult at times. I definitely learned more than I knew before taking this class, and also learned that there is much more to learn.
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Alejandro Bertrand profile image
Alejandro Bertrand profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 4 months ago
Excellent introductory course. I loved the content and how it is presented. Don't need a solid scientific background but nice to have some basic concepts. Strongly recommended!!
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 4 months ago
Takes the learner seriously provides good information and explains how it was obtained and substantiates it. Stays skeptic and does not claim knowledge that isn't there Scientific and Beautiful
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AlejandroV Dau profile image
AlejandroV Dau profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 4 months ago
Awesome content by an awesome teacher. Prof Brown is no less than the person behind the demotion of Pluto as a planet, discoverer of many significant Kuiper belt objects (like Eris) and in the search of a ninth (actual) planet that would explain abnormal orbits in KBOs. The course is accessible to anyone interested in astronomy regardless of background. Highly recommended
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Hugo Alberto Vicente profile image
Hugo Alberto Vicente profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 4 months ago
Fascinating!!! In this excellent course you can get a new look at the solar system and about life. Whatever you are in your professional life, do it, you will discover the wonderfulness of the universe ...
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 4 months ago
Mars and its evolution, Formation of the planets and the Jovian interior, moons of Jupiter and Saturn, small body groupings and their motions, signatures of life. Lots of how we know without the detailed maths. Delivered by Mike Brown with calm enthusiasm. Half way through I checked some bits on the Wiki and found that Prof Brown is a leading world expert in this field.... suddenly it became a massive privilege to listen to these lectures ( for free!). Thank you.
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Ryan LaBarge profile image
Ryan LaBarge profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 5 months ago
Super fascinating. If you want quantitative information - you've got it. If you are a qualitative sort of person, no problem. I'm someone who fancies himself pretty knowledgeable in general astrophysics (informally) and I've learned so many neat things and my only regret is that there isn't even more content for me to consume.
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8/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 5 months ago
This course improved my knowledge of the solar system far beyond what you will hear in the media. Especially the focus on research methods and how they improved our knowledge was insightful. The instructer is highly proficient in the field and the course was well paced and structured. Thank You.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 6 months ago
This is a top quality science communicator (and also a prominent scientist in his field), who really teaches you interesting facts, theories and especially methods to understand our solar system. I study applied physics, and I wish my Uni courses looked more like this, (with some more calculations, of course! :) ). I have some small issues with coursera, but overall this has been a great experience. I actually binged-coursed this in three days!
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ADITYA KUMAR profile image
ADITYA KUMAR profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 6 months ago
THIS COURSE IMPROVES MY KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SOLAR SYSTEM .RTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ETRTGRWGRBVREBGBBETGTB ET
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Gourav Namta profile image
Gourav Namta profile image

Gourav Namta

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 7 months ago
The best course ever for space enthusiasts. Period. It teaches you a whole lot of things in nine weeks, sometimes you might find it challenging as well. But keep going through. Your outlook towards the whole universe will change. It's worth the time.
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Nisia Krusche profile image
Nisia Krusche profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 7 months ago
The course is certainly the best astronomy one I have ever taken. The instructor is clear, has a good sense of humor, and a very good judgment in selecting the topics to present. The tests are very hard to complete, real study has to be done to get approved. I started the course three times, this is the first time I was able to complete because I had some others priorities in the first two times. Luckily, all my work was carried on from time to time, which was very good, because otherwise, I would not be able to complete it. That and the knowledge that very interesting classes awaited for me were the reason I did not give up. To have a stronger understanding of the themes that are presented, a basic undergraduate course in physics is needed, and ones in chemistry and in geology would be advised. I believe that even without that background knowledge, one can appreciate all the news on the Solar System that is presented in great det... The course is certainly the best astronomy one I have ever taken. The instructor is clear, has a good sense of humor, and a very good judgment in selecting the topics to present. The tests are very hard to complete, real study has to be done to get approved. I started the course three times, this is the first time I was able to complete because I had some others priorities in the first two times. Luckily, all my work was carried on from time to time, which was very good, because otherwise, I would not be able to complete it. That and the knowledge that very interesting classes awaited for me were the reason I did not give up. To have a stronger understanding of the themes that are presented, a basic undergraduate course in physics is needed, and ones in chemistry and in geology would be advised. I believe that even without that background knowledge, one can appreciate all the news on the Solar System that is presented in great detail.
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Narendra Prasad profile image
Narendra Prasad profile image

Narendra Prasad

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 10 months ago
The course was fascinating. we could learn a lot about solar system. Things about other planets. Missions in progress and future missions. The course was well conceived. It was presented in a friendly manner informally.
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Evangelos Psomiadis profile image
Evangelos Psomiadis profile image

Evangelos Psomiadis

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 11 months ago
An amazing course to take if you are interested in this subject! Professor Brown is a great teacher and an expert on the subject. The content of the course is a bit challenging yet rewarding. Although it was more time-consuming than I was initially expected, I highly recommend it!!
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Angel Sierra Reguero profile image
Angel Sierra Reguero profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
2 years, 11 months ago
Simply superb. Professor Brown knows how to keep your attention on the subject. Enough math to allow the student to understand, but not as much as to make you feel uncomfortable. I would gladly attend a continuation of this class if Mr Brown ever finds the time to do it. In the mean time, I will review selected sections of this one. Thanks for all the time and effort put in preparing and recordjng the class. Congratulations for an excellent job.
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Gholam Hedayat profile image
Gholam Hedayat profile image

Gholam Hedayat

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 11 months ago
Extremely interesting. The instructor was expert on the subject matter. The course does not require a prerequisite. If you want to know about life in the solar system, this is the course for you.
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BB profile image
BB profile image

BB

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years ago
Could you add a sixth star, just for this course please? To this day I have attended something like 15 courses on Coursera and this is the best one hands down. Not only is Mike Brown one of the top planetary scientists in the whole world (and in this course, you'll follow some of his research as he is doing it – AWESOME!) but he is also a terrific teacher. If you take this course you won't only learn a bunch of facts about the solar system, you will learn how to think like a planetary scientist (ok, you'll start at least). The course is very well structured, very comprehensive, a massive amount of data is presented in a very digestible way, you're exposed to most of the theories which are out there, there is little maths (unfortunately, some will think, but don't worry there is plenty of scientific reasoning) and it is introduced in a piecemeal way and very nicely explained. Mike Brown is enthusiastic, passionate, but not so much tha... Could you add a sixth star, just for this course please? To this day I have attended something like 15 courses on Coursera and this is the best one hands down. Not only is Mike Brown one of the top planetary scientists in the whole world (and in this course, you'll follow some of his research as he is doing it – AWESOME!) but he is also a terrific teacher. If you take this course you won't only learn a bunch of facts about the solar system, you will learn how to think like a planetary scientist (ok, you'll start at least). The course is very well structured, very comprehensive, a massive amount of data is presented in a very digestible way, you're exposed to most of the theories which are out there, there is little maths (unfortunately, some will think, but don't worry there is plenty of scientific reasoning) and it is introduced in a piecemeal way and very nicely explained. Mike Brown is enthusiastic, passionate, but not so much that he cannot relate to someone who doesn’t share his passion with him (as was my case when I began following this course). He is nice and relaxed but don't act as if he was your pale. There are guest lecturers and the quality of their teaching is on average significantly lower than Brown's but don't worry, even when he is not there, he is still there: he has annotated their slides when their presentations were unclear. Plus, it's nice to have a glimpse at what experts say on the topics on which Brown is not an expert. Is there room any for improvement? Maybe there could have been more recaps of the evidence in the sessions on water of Mars but I'm quibbling here. If you like science, you'll like this course. If you don't, you will (well, at least it's very likely you will.) Beware though, this course will make you sad. You will be sad not to be able to fly to Los Angeles and enroll at Caltech to study planetary science under Brown's supervision (no, this is NOT a joke).
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Jean Swank profile image
Jean Swank profile image

Jean Swank

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 1 month ago
The course content is great – a combination of the history of the subjects, explanation, and current work and thinking. The instructor is expert and a good communicator, serious, earnest, enthusiastic, with a sense of humor. The provider makes the lectures, quizzes and discussions conveniently available. Not that I thought it was perfect. There were a few points that I found unsatisfactorily confusing. The important lead-lead dating was the most so, despite looking up some references. I see why it is confusing, but it would be worth trying to smooth that. Sometimes the quiz questions seemed a little tricky – playing on exactly what was meant. In reviewing material I would like to be about to see the text and the figures at the same time and scroll through. The time markings made it possible to go back and forth and I am not sure how it could be technically accomplished, but it would make it easier to review material when trying t... The course content is great – a combination of the history of the subjects, explanation, and current work and thinking. The instructor is expert and a good communicator, serious, earnest, enthusiastic, with a sense of humor. The provider makes the lectures, quizzes and discussions conveniently available. Not that I thought it was perfect. There were a few points that I found unsatisfactorily confusing. The important lead-lead dating was the most so, despite looking up some references. I see why it is confusing, but it would be worth trying to smooth that. Sometimes the quiz questions seemed a little tricky – playing on exactly what was meant. In reviewing material I would like to be about to see the text and the figures at the same time and scroll through. The time markings made it possible to go back and forth and I am not sure how it could be technically accomplished, but it would make it easier to review material when trying to clarify particular points. I learned a lot and it was fun.
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student profile image

student

10/10 starsTaking Now
3 years, 1 month ago
This is the first time I have ever taken an online course, so I don't have any real comparisons. I did very much enjoy listening to Mike Brown (and sometimes having to read along), and thought he was an excellent teacher. I did find much of the content quite challenging, and occasionally the math going by too fast which required me to listen to topics more than once and/or pause the video. I found the questions embedded into the videos very helpful, and would have liked even more of those. But I definitely learned a LOT about the solar system, and have a much greater appreciation of what is going on in our solar system and beyond. It was definitely worth it if you have the time and can put in the effort. Definitely would recommend it to others.
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Jeff Richardson profile image
Jeff Richardson profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 1 month ago
Course puts a totally new, for me, perspective on the solar system. It covers formation, evolution, evaluation of how NASA missions learn so much more about the planets and bodies in the solar system (and outside the solar system). Excellent teacher, useful blogs for feedback, challenging quizzes, some questions are dubious, but all in all, very worthwhile.
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 1 month ago
Mike Brown is an excellent teacher. His course taught me and challenged me (I have no math or science background) and I really enjoyed it. I am sad that it is over. I recommend it very highly. I had absolutely no interest in the solar system before taking it (my son at Caltech encouraged me to take it and I am very grateful to him for that) and now I am extremely interested and feel that I have a good basis to explore more. thanks to Caltech and Mike Brown!
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Tyler Housel profile image
Tyler Housel profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 1 month ago
I have taken several online courses from different outlets, and this was the most enjoyable. The subject matter was fascinating, the instructor was engaging and the platform was flawless.
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 1 month ago
Thank you CALTECH and Mike Brown. I concur with all the 5 star reviewers. This has been a very productive experience. The Juno results are coming in and reflect the brilliance of Dr. Brown's assessments. Looking forward to his involvement in developing the upcoming LUCY mission to Jupiter's asteroids. Please do more of these lectures that engage and inform such a large audience.
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Rex Ridenoure profile image
Rex Ridenoure profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 1 month ago
To appreciate how we know what we know about our solar system, life (and possible life) in it, and how this applies to the other solar systems out there, this is the course for you!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 1 month ago
The course was wide-ranging, and the amount of theory and math was perfect for an old science nerd and teacher who went in a different direction. I had to listen to keep up, and occasionally listen again, but always with understanding in the end. Felt like a "hands-on" course, even without any "hands-on" work. I can't imagine a better course.
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Tom Heinz profile image
Tom Heinz profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
3 years, 1 month ago
Great course. Mike Brown is up to date and an easy person to listen to. There are lots of links and a transcription for people like me who have a hard time hearing. I liked best the explanations of how things have been discovered or analyzed but it is not too technical for anyone to take. It is fun to know a lot more about our solar system and what's coming up.
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Robert Spencer profile image
Robert Spencer profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 1 month ago
The content was detailed but accessible for a student with an interest and willingness to delve back into simple science concepts. Mike Brown does an excellent job sharing his enthusiasm for the material. I truly enjoyed the material, the challenge and the process. It makes me want to find other courses to expand my horizons.
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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.