The Science of the Solar System

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10/10 stars
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Course Details

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FREE,
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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
4758 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.
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Reviews 10/10 stars
341 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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8/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 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, 10 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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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
This is a great course even for people like me with no prior knowledge of the subject matter. Mike is a very enthusiastic teacher and his passion is contagious. The lectures are very enjoyable. I had the luck of taking this course with a lot of very helpful students, so we had a good time in the forums as well.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
Mike Brown is a good example on how to keep students interested in the info. With his logical and historical approach mingled with his humor, I have really enjoyed his classes. I have learned a lot from the lessons given. The homework is tough but doable. It forces you to go deep sometimes. Don't let the formula's scare you, they will hardly come back in the homework. Great course if you are interested in space nearby.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
Excellent course and Mike Brown is a more than worthy professor who delivered great material in a manner that kept it interesting and lighthearted. I've taken a number of MOOCs about the universe and rank this course high among them. Some areas were a bit difficult but not impossible so my lack of a physics background wasn't as frustrating as some other similar courses.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
Course instructor was wonderful and enthusiastic. Clear concise lectures. Concepts presented without the need for a grasp of advanced math or physics. Exams were on topic and relevant to overall concepts.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 10 months ago
Love this course. Learned a lot about the solar system. I am like the other astronomers out there who always think the far far distance objects are way cooler, but now I learned so much about the cool things happening a lot closer to our own world.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 10 months ago
Fantastic course. It is neither too easy nor too hard. There is substantial physics, chemistry, and geology, as well as some mathematics; it is not purely an "astronomy for poets" kind of thing. But it's all well explained and pitched at just the right level to push a poet to broaden his or her perspective. The instructor is a very good lecturer with a nice voice and style in front of the camera and a sense of humor. Four "homeworks" (i.e. quizzes) and a final exam, which you must keep up with in two- to three-week segments. Nine weeks overall.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
The course was brilliant, inspiring, engaging, challenging! all you need to be motivated! The instructor is great, very animated and knowledgable. The material is new, exciting sciences straight from the space! I have learned a lot and would continue on the path of astronomy and planetary science. I am a geologist and would love to work with geology of other planets! Anna.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
The best course I attended so far. Very engaging, lovely to listen to and full off good information (and lot's off additional readings besides the lectures.)
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 10 months ago
This was a very interesting course. Mike Brown is just AWESOME - easy to understand, clear in his explanations and a lot of fun! The courses and homework were very well paced.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
I greatly enjoyed the instructor Mike Brown, who initially captured my interest with his book about murdering Pluto. The course is very informative and often challenged my forgotten knowledge of math and physics. The periodic multiple choice quizzes jolt you awake and make you go back and review, as intended. Be prepared for lots of wrong answers if you are like me. I'm glad I took the course and would do it over again.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 10 months ago
Science of the Solar System is an in-depth course that draws from principles of Physics, Chemistry, Geology and even exo-Biology to focus on the "why" and "how" of the solar system. Professor Mike Brown is an excellent facilitator. I would classify this class as mid-level in difficulty... you will need to take notes, or read through the transcripts, or at least review the video lectures, to do well. The homework does not include much mathematics, but a cursory knowledge of same is helpful at times. If I could offer one suggestion, it would be to end the reliance on multiple choice questions of the "not" variety on the quizzes. Best practices in test development suggests that these kinds of questions should be somewhat limited. All-in-all, a very satisfying and challenging nine-week course. I am pleased.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
Easily one of the best MOOCs I've taken. Mike Brown is a brilliant (and really fun!) teacher and the content is challenging but not impossible. The small bodies section was especially interesting.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
This course is difficult, but not impossible -- you will learn SO MUCH!! Mike Brown is an engaging lecturer. He presents concepts with original research data so we can understand how the discoveries were made, where the strengths and weaknesses in the data are, and what researchers still have to discover. The forums are a great addition, with students engaging more deeply with the topics, helping each other, and interacting with the professor.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
Mike Brown is a gifted engaging educator and scientist. That combination is not often found but it makes the subject of Planetary Science actually fun. The course allows many levels of learning that can be appreciated by me, a Solar System fan, to those seeking higher levels of learning through additional reading and independent study made available. Indeed the curriculum is the basis for his own Cal Tech classroom. Some of it was very challenging, and I did have difficulty with some of the concepts but I've been away from science, math and physics classes for many years. I did enjoy the challenge and took my own notes to improve my listening and understanding. I stuck with it due to my own love of amateur astronomy and this subject matter. I appreciate the opportunity and consider it a privilege to have taken this class. If it is offered again in the future, I hope to repeat it.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
Brilliant course led by inspirational professor with great face-to-face videos, graphics, extra materials, guest lecturers and feedback from the staff. Well paced and cleverly designed so that you could manage, whatever your level of maths. I thoroughly enjoyed studying and am inspired to learn more.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
Great course, great professor and a great subject! Done very professionally and in great detail. It is made for both those more in the field and others, like me, that are approaching astronomy more lightly. Other than Mike Brown, that makes it all very interesting and funny, the other guest have been really good as well. Dive into it yourself and discover the greatness of our Solar System!
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
One of the most interesting course about the most fascinating theme from the most inspiring instructor, A journey through our solar system and beyond, with the latest scientific data. The main goal is to see how the scientists work, think and interpret the whole world.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 10 months ago
I would give this course 10 stars if I could. It was extremely interesting to learn how the science is done behind the stories we see in the news. I have some college level calculus, physics, and chemistry. This course was at a level I could understand, but was still challenging. If you don't have this background, you may not get as much out of this course, but I still highly recommend it. You will learn a lot! Dr. Brown is an extremely engaging lecturer and a fantastic teacher.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
I took this course out of curiosity and I was surprised by how much I have enjoyed it. Mike Brown is passionate about this subject and his passion is infectious. I highly recommend this course. I had no prior knowledge of the subject matter, and could follow it to the end. I am glad to have done it, because it has really broaden my interests!
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
Great instructor Not all parts equally interesting or accessible if science background is not extensive or limited or not recent Math usually kept to a minimum but is needed
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
Great course. Well organized and well presented by one of the experts in the field. A great view of the topic, providing enough details in specific areas. The physics was well explained for those who do not have a physics background, while at the same time, allowing those with more knowledge to understand how concepts are arise.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
This was an amazing course where I learned a lot. The professor is very enthusiastic and it makes the subject even more fascinating and interesting. Thank you!
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
A fabulous course. With no background in physics and chemistry, some elements stretched me to the limit but it was worthwhile. I have downloaded all the course notes and links for additional reading and intend to go through the whole course again in slower time.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
It was a fantastic course. The subject is just fascinating and thought provoking. But it would be as nearly as fun or interesting had it not been for Professor Mike Brown. Great man, excellent teaching skills and an amazing professional.
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8/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 10 months ago
The course content is "some" science of the solar system, in the sense that there is much more exploration and discovery than orbits and mechanichs. Anyway it's very interesting. The instructor is very good at making things interesting; he is only sometimes a little unclear. Homework questions sometimes don't have a direct answer in the lectures. The provider is Coursera... you know that EdX is much better...
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
Excellent course, great instructor! The course covers a lot of newly found discoveries on Mars, information on small bodies in the Solar System and follows the missions to discover more!
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
Mike Brown is an excellent presenter. I thoroughly enjoyed this course, even though I got only 8/13 on the final. If you have any interest in the solar system or Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the rest, this course is for you.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
This course was informative for the casual student and also provided great depth in physics and chemistry for those more serious about the solar system. Great balance in the presentation. Mike Brown is a terrific instructor. I found it very worthwhile.
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  • 5 stars
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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.