The Science of the Solar System

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10/10 stars
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FREE,
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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
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.
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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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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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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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.