The Science of the Solar System

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10/10 stars
based on  339 reviews
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Course Details

Cost

FREE,
Add a Verified Certificate for $49

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Course Provider

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
4735 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
339 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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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Brilliant course. Not easy, even for someone studying this at University. But well lectured, good references (I especially liked the references to the original articles for certain models and hypotheses), and good educational questions in the quizzes. Highly recommended course!
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
Mike Brown is an award-winning teacher and this course shows why. He presents the science of the solar system by telling stories of the groups of objects, making connections and helping students see them too. How do planetary scientists know what they know so far? What kinds of questions are we asking going forward? This course shows the value of love and skepticism toward new discoveries. I learned a lot. The class is challenging but appropriately so, more conceptual than quantitative. Highly recommend this class.
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Miranda Moses profile image
Miranda Moses profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 9 reviews
  • 3 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
This course is for those interested in space science. Thanks to Prof. Brown who has made this course awesome. It was an amazing experience. I would recommend this course for all space lover.
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6/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
Wonderful course perfect for both beginners in the subject and those with previous knowledge. Well presented , full of interest and delivered by one kf the top astromomers. Well worth signing up for.
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8/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Very good course, and Mike Brown's presentation was the best part. He is a very engaging instructor, and kept it interesting even when my brain started fog with the math. After taking a number of online courses, I am convinced that the instructor makes the course, and Mike Brown certainly made this one. Get Mike to do more courses!
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
This is the best ever, Prof. Mike brings his passion for astronomy to every lecture, it will leave you with more answers, and more questions that you ever dreamed about. Anyone with any interest in our world should take this course.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Great professor. Passionate, entertaining, true scientist. Great content. A lot of fun and enjoyment. Good balance of hard data, personal touch, imagination and desire to explore. Recommending this course to everybody.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
The course was somewhat challenging (it should be... the topics are intrinsically hard), but a lot of fun. The instructor is one of the best I've ever come across in my life. His passion for planetary science is evident, and he has excellent pedagogic skills to transmit both his knowledge and his passion for the subject. Probably what this course needs is weekly homeworks instead of one per unit (I may be shooting myself in the foot here, because I barely had time to finish them; I stayed up late just to finish the homeworks... and for the first time in my life, I was happy I did it). I can only thank Dr. Mike Brown. It is because of him that my passion for astronomy has but increased, and now, more than ever, I'm eager to change careers (I'm an electronic engineer) and try my best to become a professional astronomer one day (If my maths & physics skills are strong enough).
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Kudos to Mike Brown for a great course! As a 75 yr old retired mechanical engineer without enough to do, I found Brown to be a compelling lecturer with superb subject knowledge and a great ability to add his own brand of humor to his presentations. I strongly recommend this fascinating course. The math and science are present but not too challenging.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Excellent course. Even for a student like me without any knowledge of physics or math, the instructor made this a rich and exciting learning experience. He was well prepared, chose good examples, and -- well -- was just plain out likable for someone viewing these lectures after a day's work in a different field, with a glass of wine in hand. I've taken several online courses on astronomy and I loved the emphasis in this one on how knowledge is gathered, do indeed now feel more able to understand reports of findings. I didn't do the homework or quizzes, which would doubtless have made it more rewarding, but even so it was great, thanks to good teaching. Thanks!
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Chun Hong Sham profile image
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
The materials are presented in such a way as if we are going through an exploration. This is what I like most about this class. If you want to get a taste on the essence of scientific method, try this out. Of course, the sciences are interesting too! I attend this class for pure amusement - I watch the lectures and make notes but skipping homework and exams.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
Professor Brown is highly knowledgeable about the solar system, and he is a very engaging teacher. The subject matter is presented with a broad brush, with dome detail provided, so that the learner gets a good overview of the subject, with a matching understanding of current thinking. The course and accompanying exams ask the student to think about the subject matter, and not just remember facts. This is an excellent course, and I highly recommend it to someone who is truly interested in the solar system, and why we think it is the way it is.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
I loved this course. It helped me understand how we know what we know. It wasn't easy. It required a little bit of effort but it was well repaid. On this course Professor Mike is not a lecturer but a real teacher. I know, because I am one (a teacher that is!). And I think his impish humour adds greatly to the enjoyment of the course. - John Daly, Dublin Ireland
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Oh wow!!!! Maybe I shouldn't have embarked on this course because it isn't for the faint hearted...but I did...I persevered....and I passed with flying colours! Mike Brown takes you into the realms of the unknown...you really do feel like you are privy to secret unknown entities...hence his usual maybe phrases ;) .I thoroughly throughly enjoyed every moment and am hoping the course is run again next year so I can grab a seat as mission commander :)))))
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 5 reviews
  • 4 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
Wonderful lectures, providing excellent insight into how planetary scientists figure things out. There were 4 units, on Mars; Jupiter and the giant planets; smaller bodies like the asteroids and outer sub-planets; and the possibilities of life on planets other than earth. I found the instructor very engaging - and he finally explained why Pluto is no longer a planet in a way that made me believe it.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
Wonderful course, great presentation of how planetary scientists figure things out. Loved it. Lectures are excellent, quizzes challenging but do-able.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
This is a phenomenal course. Mike Brown is a passionate professional in this field and brings both knowledge and wry humor to the subject. The material presented is absolutely fascinating and leaves you hungering for more! Facts and opinions are supported by simulations, video and hand drawn (carefully premeditated) illustrations. Speculation and "I don't know" are labeled with refreshing intellectual honesty. My only complaint is that the assessments are difficult as much for ambiguity and subtlety as for detailed interrogation of acquired knowledge. Even so, I cannot recommend this class highly enough. The only thing possibly better than this course might be its sequel!
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
Without spreading it on too thick, I'd say this is the best course I ever took through BS and MBA. Professor Mike Brown has a wonderful sense of humor and a magical ability to simplify and convey some pretty difficult ideas. If this course been available during high school, I'd have gone into Astronomy. This course is a remarkable opportunity. It's tough, but well worth it. j
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
Wonderful, fascinating presentation of amazing material. Not just facts about the planets, but explanations of how those facts were discovered and what the scientific basis of knowledge is. Highly recommended!!
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
The video lectures were very informative. Good explanations, good pace, good illustrations. The homework assignments took an effort, so you really have to pay attention and make notes during the video lectures. It was a great experience.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
The best course I've yet seen on Coursera. Mike Brown was able to explain such a complex things in so simple manner! Almost no complex formulas and good examples during lectures for demonstrating some physical phenomena
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
I can't compare this course to other MOOCs because it was my first. All I can say is that it's vastly superior to any of my long-ago classroom experiences. I can compare Mike Brown to other professors and I never had a better one. It was a challenge. I would only have absorbed a fraction of what I was able to because this format let me raise my note-taking and reviewing to a new level. At first, I had some doubts about the type of questions in the homework. I've decided they are more thoughtfully crafted than I originally thought. The course requires more time and application than I expected. Also leaves me feeling more satisfied than I would have otherwise. One of my favourite parts was the part of the discussion forum where students are invited to provide corrections to the captions that can be turned on. I think I was the first one to notice that the caption for "quonset hut in Barrow, Alaska" came out as "Kwanza hut in... I can't compare this course to other MOOCs because it was my first. All I can say is that it's vastly superior to any of my long-ago classroom experiences. I can compare Mike Brown to other professors and I never had a better one. It was a challenge. I would only have absorbed a fraction of what I was able to because this format let me raise my note-taking and reviewing to a new level. At first, I had some doubts about the type of questions in the homework. I've decided they are more thoughtfully crafted than I originally thought. The course requires more time and application than I expected. Also leaves me feeling more satisfied than I would have otherwise. One of my favourite parts was the part of the discussion forum where students are invited to provide corrections to the captions that can be turned on. I think I was the first one to notice that the caption for "quonset hut in Barrow, Alaska" came out as "Kwanza hut in Barrel, Alaska".
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
This is not an easy course. Having said that, it is absolutely possible to pass even without a background in math or physics (although that would certainly help). The material is interesting, if challenging. The instructor is engaging. I would wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in astronomy.
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8/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Excellent and very well worth the time investment. Up to date with current research results. Highly recommend. Mike Brown's lectures are excellent and there were several visiting lecturers that also provided great insight into the science of our solar system.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Awesome course by a guy who is both doing research in relevant fields and is gifted in communicating with people who have little to no experience with the field. Don't miss it!
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8/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
The topics in lectures are presented by the instructor in a very attractive manner. Homework is quite challenging and helps you better understand the topics. Quite a lot of weekly work. As opposite to other astronomy related courses not a lot of maths are used. A very rewarding experience.
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8/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Various subjects in lectures presented by the instructor in a very attractive manner. Challenging quizzes. Quite a lot of weekly work. Very rewarding experience.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
It is a very interesting course. It has depth in contents so you really will gain some understanding on how the solar system formed, the planets, and so on. The homework gets you thinking a lot, but you should feel satisfied if get through them.
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8/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Very interesting course!!! I did not know so much material has been collected for our old Solar System. Mike Brown went through out many details on geology, planet formation, state of the art for satellites... Very good course!!!
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
This is a great course and I highly recommend it. Mike is a very good teacher, and the passion he has for the subject matter is contagious. He is very good at explaining complex issues in an easy to understand way. I also had a great time in the forums, with a lot of helpful students taking the course at the same time.
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Rating Details


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  • 4 stars
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  • 5 stars
  • 4 stars
  • 3 stars
  • 2 stars
  • 1 stars
  • 5 stars
  • 4 stars
  • 3 stars
  • 2 stars
  • 1 stars

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.