The Science of the Solar System

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10/10 stars
based on  351 reviews
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FREE,
Add a Verified Certificate for $49

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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
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.
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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Jakob Isaksson profile image
Jakob Isaksson profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
It's a great course for everyone interested in astronomy! Prof Brown is an excellent lecturer and manage to guide you through even the parts with more difficult mathematical/physics, even if you have only minor skills
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John Wilkins profile image
John Wilkins profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
A pleasantly challenging course covering the less 'glamorous' areas of the science of the solar system, and other solar systems, delivered by the very friendl and modest Prof. Mike Brown, who is quick to acknowledge that there are parts of the subject for which we do not yet have sufficient information to make definitive conclusions, and asks, in occasional 'polls', what we, the students, based on our knowledge so far, think may be the most likely option (from 4 or 5 offered). All in all, stimulating, and a greta lot of fun to do.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Wonderful course ! A great intro to the solar system. Mr. Brown is an excellent professor, and fun to listen to. I have had other astronomy courses and this one is by far the most interesting one I have taken. Course covers different areas and puts them together bit by bit. This is a great course to take! John P
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Excellent instructor with great amount of useful information. If he was to hold another course, I would gladly join it. The course itself is divided in 4 parts, each lasting 2 or 3 weeks and overall length is 9 weeks.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Excellent course. Lectures included details of raw data and their interpretation in a straight forward manner. While a science background helps it will still interest a general student.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
This course, led by an outstanding teacher, is not just a roller coaster ride through the science of the solar system; it's a training ground in the kind of discipline on which all good science depends. Employing a dry sense of humour throughout, Prof. Brown instils respect for the scientific method in his students; the kind of respect that makes him a good astronomer and can help us all to distinguish fact from fiction in our investigations of the world. The word 'maybe' takes on a life of its own during the course, escaping the lips of its progenitor and infecting the lively discussions that the course engenders in the forums. Some of the details require a knowledge of physics and chemistry but this course can be approached at many levels and offers insights to those with little scientific training as well as those who may be well versed in the subject. Planetary science is a very exciting field right now as missions such ... This course, led by an outstanding teacher, is not just a roller coaster ride through the science of the solar system; it's a training ground in the kind of discipline on which all good science depends. Employing a dry sense of humour throughout, Prof. Brown instils respect for the scientific method in his students; the kind of respect that makes him a good astronomer and can help us all to distinguish fact from fiction in our investigations of the world. The word 'maybe' takes on a life of its own during the course, escaping the lips of its progenitor and infecting the lively discussions that the course engenders in the forums. Some of the details require a knowledge of physics and chemistry but this course can be approached at many levels and offers insights to those with little scientific training as well as those who may be well versed in the subject. Planetary science is a very exciting field right now as missions such as Galileo reveal our solar system in a detail never previously seen and we begin to discover and explore systems elsewhere in the galaxy using ever more powerful instruments. As a result, our ideas about the evolution of the solar system and of life itself are changing very fast and the course approaches some long standing questions about our very existence and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Well taught, I learned many new things, downloaded the videos and plan to review them to solidify my understanding.It accommodates different levels of preparation by including the homework given Caltech students which is much more mathematically challenging.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
This is the best online course that I have ever taken. Dr. Brown does an excellent job of presenting the material in such a way as to keep the interest of the student. The presented material is not just limited to the solar system (as if that were really a limit) but includes other objects in the galaxy. There were some minor technical glitches that I am sure will be taken care of although I kinda liked Mike's green hair:)
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Rhiannon Feiryred profile image
Rhiannon Feiryred profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
I will keep doing this course till Mike Brown gives me a job! His teaching is superlative. I completed this course a year ago and am repeating it as revision for my planetary science module next week. I feel a strong urge to watch all the videos again before next Friday!
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Mike Brown has done an amazing thing with this course. He tells a fascinating story about solar system science organized into components that are deeply interrelated. But even more importantly, he empowers students (of all types) to try and understand the processes scientists use to learn about the solar system. This is done with such respect that even if you are uneasy when equations are occasionally introduced, you feel encouraged to struggle a bit to get the concept. And that is so much fun.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
I have loved this course, even when some of the homework had me tearing my hair out; a sign of a stretching course. Prof Brown and his TAs approach the subject with enthusiasm, passion and a lovely sense of humour (anyone who has a twitter handle of @plutokiller sets out their stall in the humour stakes VERY clearly).
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
I thoroughly enjoy this course. I do have some background in astronomy, and this course was a good in-depth look at the members of our solar system. There is some basic knowledge in physics required but not too much maths ( if you worry about that). I like the way Prof.Brown explains difficult subjects so you can basically understand them. If you're in for more you may go to the Caltech section. I did like this offer as it tells you what is expected from Caltech students. It comes without saying that this was way way above my level of knowledge and understanding ! I really appreciate all the efforts by Prof.Brown and his team to make his knowledge accessible to all of us, free of charge. A big thanks to all involved in making this course!
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Steve Bosley profile image
Steve Bosley profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Just the best online course I have so far done - amazing content, excellently presented ... not too simple, not too hard. Mike Brown makes this an easy journey with a very engaging and often witty style - I will certainly look out any other courses he produces! I thought I knew a reasonable amount about the subject when I started but I was blown away by the insights that Prof Brown gave into the science behind some truly remarkable discoveries. Water on Mars - who knew ? I now understand the structure of Jupiter and why it must be so. The section on Asteroids was an astonishing demonstration of how modern computing can convincingly show how the early Solar System must have evolved. And finally, I was relieved to hear that there is probably life on earth ! If you are at all interested in the Solar System, you must do this course
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
The organization of the course into three mayor questions is brilliant idea. Mike's method of delivering the material and then leaving you with a cliffhanger will make you want to come back for more. Nexy week in the same science channel at same science hour!! Loved the course.
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rmozzer profile image
rmozzer profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
This course is well researched and engaging. The homework is rigorous and demanding but reasonable to undertake at the level of a Freshman in college. The course encourages one to think and the guidance by the instructor and staff are extremely helpful.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Outstanding course explaining what the current state of understanding is for the formation of the solar system and similar bodies and the underlying science that support the hypotheses. Very engaging and enjoyable but also moderately challenging.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
I would highly recommend this course for anyone who has an interest in the solar system. I looked forward to each lecture for the information and the pleasing, accessible way it was presented. I look forward to taking more courses this way.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
I highly recommend this course. It is well planned and produced. Dr. Brown is an excellent instructor. He struck a good balance between the depth and breadth of topic coverage.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Excellent, very educational course. If you have any interest in astronomy, don't hesitate about taking it. Mike Brown is the best lecturer you could ever imagine.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Very interesting, very inspiring, and challenging without requiring endless calculations. Best course I've encountered on planetary science.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Brilliant course, it is accessible to those without any knowledge of the subject. I found it amazing what we know already about the solar system. There is some maths but this can be skipped it it's not your thing. Mike Brown makes the subject interesting, I found out that alot of what I thought I knew was wrong, and I am now a fan of all this exploration that NASA and the European space agency are making in the solar system when I wasn't bothered before. Just sign up today!
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
I had tried for some years to finish a course via internet, on areas I like. This is the first time, I finished the whole course in time and now waiting for the final homework or quizzes. Have for a teacher someone who shows not only with his work, but with his voice, face, and body, the passion that he have for what he is talking about, is the most appealing thing that can happen for a class, as I had experienced it life before. Mike is a fantastic teacher, and I hope his research continue giving us, more insights and understandings about our solar system and our self. I conclusion, I will recommended to whoever wants to take the class regardless their physics or math level, to do so, it is worth the time and effort. Thank you Mike, and CALTECH for this great opportunity.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 1 month ago
Unfortunately two things slowed it down for me. First my math skills were not up to speed for some of the assignments. 2nd, So much more to be discovered but probably not in my life time. Prof Browns humor, some may have missed it, is often subtle and tongue in cheek, but to me provided an indicator as to how seriously he takes himself, along with the love of the subject. Die! Pluto Die!
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
I have loved astronomy since I was 6. I have read innumerable technical SciFi books, many set in the solar system. Thus I thought I knew a lot. Then came Prof. Mike Brown and showed me how little I really know and how much more there is to know. He is truly a gifted teacher. And the three lectures from Kevin Hand from JPL are very good too. The lectures are many and long and the homework is hard, make no mistake. Don't fall behind. This class is a necessary tool for those who read astronomy-relted news on the media - an antidote to sensationalism.
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2/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Excellent, excellent, excellent. I enjoyed the format and the review questions and explanations. Instant feedback provided me with what I needed to review further. It took me a while to realize the additional readings section was available and enjoyed that when I was there. How about a recommendation for a good text book. I finally bought a planetary textbook by chance inspection and it was great and real,y helped me review and I dersfand the comments better. I looked at the Caltech homework and wow that is much harder (of course) and I learned a bit by just looking at the questins and seeing how I might proceed on answering the questions too.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Just finished the course, waiting to do Final Exam. Really enjoyed the course. More technical than expected but could be followed by anyone with high school physics and algebra. More qualitative than quantitative , so not difficult to follow. I like the style of the professor. I didn't give him a 5 star,. I would have given a 5 star had he used slides to illustrate the more quantitative points rather than writing on a white board. But that's a very personal preference.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Mike is great, and makes everything so interesting. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in what we are discovering about our world and the universe today.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
Dr. Brown (Mike) does the most excellent presentations and lectures one could hope for from any subject or class. The course is not easy, but not so tough that one couldn't finish it with moderate effort; Mike makes it understandable and adds his devilish, and sometimes very subtle sense of humor. Only thing that could be better is if you had the privilege of taking the class in person instead of via the internet. Thanks Mike!!!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 1 month ago
This was a very good course, with very current information, and a very good and inspiring instructor. Top! Good references accompanied each lecture, I tried to check most of them, they were good, and I will keep those as background also for future reference. What I liked especially was the clear impression that prof Brown gave about the uncertainties we face in this area of science.
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Kristina Šekrst profile image
Kristina Šekrst profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 102 reviews
  • 102 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
A great instructor with great lectures, and some guest ones as well. The homework was tricky, but worth it, It's nice to have some calculus background if you'd like to pass the course. To continue, all in all the class is a must-enroll for the mysteries of things that are right in front of our noses - in our Solar system. Professor Brown participated actively in the forums, which increased the overall quality of the course. A strong recommendation.
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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.