The Science of the Solar System

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10/10 stars
based on  351 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
4831 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 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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
5 years, 1 month 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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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
I think this was a great course. Good balance of general information, physics and chemistry making it of interest to those with little science background but also worth the time of someone looking to understand in more depth, what we know about the solar system and how we know that. Mike Brown was a very good instructor.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Take this class. I can't recommend it enough. Mike Brown is an excellent teacher. The quizzes are challenging but appropriate. I have taken many online courses and this is the best class by far. The content was suberbly and thoroughly presented. The mechanics of taking the class was hassle free.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
I have taken several Coursera courses, some have been presented by good professors, some have been presented by mediocre parrots, and one or two have been presented by truly outstanding professors. We all know to which group Professor Mike Brown belongs. He has taken an immensely complex and vitally important subject and presented it in a clear, precise and fascinating way so that even a relative inexperienced person can understand and become enthused.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Course is well done. Not much math which I found a bit disappointing but those who dislike math will find this to be to their liking. The solar System is studied in a lot of detail.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
A pure joy to have had the opportunity to take this class from Mike Brown-smart, clever, articulate, and funny. Big thumbs up to him and CalTech for making it available through Coursera. Thank you! Anne
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Stuart Greenhouse profile image
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Pretty much the gold standard for how great an MOOC can be. Engaged forums, brilliant teacher, fascinating subject matter. Not as hard as Ronan Plesser's Intro to Astronomy, but still pretty demanding in that the quiz questions will make you review pretty solidly the week's lectures.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
I have taken multiple MOOC courses and this one is the best. The subject was presented with an integrated overview of multiple aspects of planetary science including historic, current, and future perspectives. Professor Mike Brown is an outstanding instructor. His explanations are clear and concise and delivered with humor. I was never bored , even when he delved into complicated scientific calculations. As a non-scientist lifelong learner, I was stimulated to new learning and the Coursera format supported the learning process very well. The course was challenging, especially the homework (quiz) assignments.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Great course. Great videos. I learned so much. And also, most importantly, I realize why the solar system is interesting as compared to all that far away stuff.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
I'm a science light-weight and enrolled in this course out of curiosity, but stayed for the amazing experience. I've taken quite a few courses through Coursera, but this one was by far the best in terms of learning experience and a deepening understanding of science in general, and astronomy specifically,
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Absolutely worth the time and effort for the course. Professor Brown is a fabulous instructor and the other instructors too. I learned many things about the solar system which have given me a better understanding of many subjects. Many thanks to Professor Brown and the other instructors for a great solar system ride.
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John Wildridge profile image
John Wildridge profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
A fantastic course! I'm an amateur astronomer and have studied on a few MOOCs previously. This was by far the most comprehensive. My old A Level in maths came in useful after blowing the cobwebs away and is this course is not for the beginner. That said, the lectures are beautifully written, engaging and thought provoking. Each homework is pitched (IMHO) at the right difficulty to make me think, but not to discourage me from returning week after week. I would highly recommend this course to anyone with a reasonable grasp of maths, an interest in science and astronomy wanting to learn for either pleasure or professional gain.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Best MOOC to date. Innovative conversational presentation style. Extraordinarily thought through material selection. Challenging,instructive exams. Very active comment threads. Very intelligent class. Just superb!
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
An excellent introduction to the current issues in understanding our solar system: how it formed, what it's made of, how it is structured, why Pluto isn't a planet anymore, the search for life, and so on. I sometimes found myself wishing there were more technical / mathematical detail, but taken on its own as a sort of super-deep documentary programme, it's absolutely great. The instructor is very engaging and (it is worth mentioning) quite active in the forums, answering questions and so on.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Full course , fascinating explanations clear and compelling , I learned a lot , especially the interest in things closer but no less intriguing. The material presented is much and leads you to a full immersion of nine weeks in astronomy of the solar system .
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Sonja Duijvesteijn profile image
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
The contents of the course are exactly as described in the overview, going through the solar system in a non linear way. For me this order worked really well, rather than going to the planets one by one the different order allowed us to take a deeper dive into the subject every week. It's not so much about learning the hard facts, although there are plenty of those as well, but mostly about how did we/the scientists get to those facts. And what do we not know yet, and what do we suspect but can't proof yet. I especially liked that there was a lot of skepticism in the course about certain discoveries as well, because it taught me to not belief everything that's published but to look at the underlying study. And it taught what to look for in those studies and what that means. Another thing I loved, although highly personal, is the dislike of the instructor of lame acronyms for space missions. It's those little things that make ... The contents of the course are exactly as described in the overview, going through the solar system in a non linear way. For me this order worked really well, rather than going to the planets one by one the different order allowed us to take a deeper dive into the subject every week. It's not so much about learning the hard facts, although there are plenty of those as well, but mostly about how did we/the scientists get to those facts. And what do we not know yet, and what do we suspect but can't proof yet. I especially liked that there was a lot of skepticism in the course about certain discoveries as well, because it taught me to not belief everything that's published but to look at the underlying study. And it taught what to look for in those studies and what that means. Another thing I loved, although highly personal, is the dislike of the instructor of lame acronyms for space missions. It's those little things that make the course not just educationally great but fun to follow as well.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
I am a retired ex-engineer and found this MOOC just excellent. It did exactly what it said in its introduction but to an unexpectedly detailed level. As the content was so encompassing and convincing I didn't feel the need to partake in the forums.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Great course. By the end of it you certainly will have increased your knowledge about our Solar System. The Home Works are not easy, but if you are doing the course because you love it, you can do them fine. Prof. Brown is great as a lecturer and his videos are far away from being boring. A stimulating kind of course. A must to to every one that desires to know better about our HOME.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
All were awesome. Great scientific yet understandable course. Professor Mike Brown has a knack for explaining complex astronomical concepts in easy-to-understand ways.
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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Excellent course accessible to anyone with some knowledge of physics and math. The material is interesting and very well explained even though it has to be simplified somewhat for a broad audience. I only watched the lectures and got more than what I expected from this source alone. Of the dozen or so MOOCs I have taken, this is certainly among the top 3.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Great class, awesome instructor! Highly recommended! I was somewhat new to this course. It did go in-depth and was also broken down so that anyone could get the gist of it.
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Rating Details


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  • 1 stars
  • 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.