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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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
4842 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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Patricio Moreno profile image
Patricio Moreno profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 11 months ago
Excellent course. The instructor is an expert in the field and also a very good professor. Many of the studies that he shows on the classes were done by him and his team at Caltech, that brings the real work in astronomy, the real science, closer to us. The evaluations are hard, but this encourages to pay more attention to the classes and study to get a real understanding of the topics.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 1 month ago
This has been, by far, the best online course I have taken. The lectures go into detail on the scientific principles behind the planets and the solar system as a whole. You will have the opportunity to look at actual data from several space missions to Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, etc and understand the forces that determined whether Mars has water or life in the past. The instructor is interesting, funny and passionate about the topic. The tests are challenging enough to make you study, but not so hard that you'll give up in frustration. Highly recommended!
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Monika profile image
Monika profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
4 years, 1 month ago
I am new to the course, have only gone through 4 weeks' worth of lectures as of today but I am hoping very much that I'll complete it. I don't need to but I kind of feel obliged to because the amount of preparation that has gone into this course is immense. It is free, it is about reaching as many people as possible around the world with little notes of encouragements when the Maths and Physics get heavy. It is incredible that all this information and the quality of lectures are available for free. The updates are continuous, reviews are encouraged. Prof Brown is very famous and successful as a scientist but perhaps he found his true forte in teaching.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 1 month ago
Mike Brown does a fantastic job of explaining the scientific adventure of understanding the solar system, its composition and history, talking about the details about searching for exoplanets and finally about how we can hope getting hints about life somewhere else in the Milky Way. The pace is definitely ambitious, references to research literature are provided along the way, and there are some very good guest lectures. Among the best lessons I'll carry home are the exposition of the scientific reasoning behind, (in)validating hypotheses along - or rather not when evidence is not sufficient. The part on small bodies of the solar system by itself is worth registering by itself, so little known for the general public and yet so much to learn from it. And Mike Brown's enthusiasm is so evident that you can't escape learning. Overall, great course, great topic and lecturer, it has been quite a feat.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 4 months ago
Very profound coverage of the subjects for hobbyists like myself. Mike Brown is Inspiring, funny, informative, I would take another course with him as instructor anytime. Only minus: sometimes technical problems with the audio (background noise).
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 5 months ago
Course content was challenging. Some math. I was able to learn how to do, and did do, some basic planetary science computations. E.g. I now have code that calculates the expected equilibrium temperature of a planets surface. Handy to have. Instructor was very knowledgeable in the field. Lectures held my interest. I watched the lectures at 3/4 speed to take notes. Frequent pauses. Provider Coursera software works very well.
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Raquel Stoltz profile image
Raquel Stoltz profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 5 months ago
First, thank you very much for your hard work and dedication! Definitely, this was the most enjoyable course about our solar system I have taken. Mike brown and his colleagues shared their knowledge about us and or existence in the universe with so much passion, love and in a very didactic way! I got very emotional at the end listening Mike´s words... Because of you I planned my next vacation all related to astronomy! I will visit the telescopes in Chile, the meteorite museum, spend the night camping at the desert to observe the sky and use all the tools and websites you guys provided to us to make my trip unforgettable! Please, continue with the hard work, I am addictive to the amusement our universe brings to my life! Thank you again!
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 6 months ago
best i've taken - so far very much liked instructor style & approach would sign up for anything he teaches very timely - will need to be updated with in a few years especially after 2020 mars mission
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
The main instructor, Mike Brown, did a great job. It would have been helpful to have had college physics for some of the discussions, but I still got a lot out of those discussions without that course. I would recommend this course to anyone.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
professor mike brown of Caltech is with no doubt the best online instructor iv'e encountered. It is not easy to compress that much knowledge into only 9 weeks of video lectures, yet Professor brown does an amaizing job in my opinion' while keeping it interesting, funny and refreshing. The course features various guest lecturers which is also nice to watch. At a certain point mike takes us (the viewers) to a 'field trip' to one of the worlds' most prestigous places for astrofisicists - THE SUBARO TELESCOPE. BEST VIDEO FIELD TRIP EVER. The course's content was fascenating and left me with hunger for more.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 12 months ago
Outstanding lectures from Mike Brown, he has such a good style teaching. His videos are actually exciting, does not feel like school but entertainment.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Mike Brown is a fantastic instructor. He addresses a myriad of issues, does an excellent job of covering the subject. Most importantly he jumps into the middle of discussions and fully participates in the forums. Its kind of like being in the classroom. The subject is not easy and their is some math involved. But you can get by if you ensure that you do well in the not math questions of the homework. You will come away from this course with a great appreciation for astronomy, and the science behind it. You will also understand why CalTech is a great university!!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years 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
5 years 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
5 years 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
Chun Hong Sham profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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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