subject
Intro

The Science of the Solar System

Class Central Course Rank
#2 in Subjects > Science
#1 in Subjects > Science > Astronomy

HIGHEST RATED MOOC

This course is a Top 50 MOOC of All Time based on thousands of reviews written by Class Central users. It's guaranteed to be good!

Check out the rest of the Top 50 here.

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.

Syllabus

Unit 1: Water on Mars (week 1)


Unit 1: Water on Mars (week 2)


Unit 1: Water on Mars (week 3)


Unit 2: The insides of giant planets (week 1)


Unit 2: The insides of giant planets (week 2)


Unit 3: Big questions from small bodies (week 1)


Unit 3: Big questions from small bodies (week 2)


Unit 4: Life in the solar system (week 1)


Unit 4: Life in the solar system and beyond (week 2)


Final exam


35 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Upcoming
Subject Astronomy
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Hours 4-6 hours a week
Calendar 10 weeks long
+ Add to My Courses
Learn Data Analysis udacity.com

Learn to become a Data Analyst. Job offer guaranteed or get a full refund.

Advertisement
FAQ View All
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

35 reviews

Write a review
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
profile picture
Keith Okan completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
This was my first astronomy course and I enjoyed it immensely. Prof. Brown gives the class depth and warmth. There is even some humorous moments. Although I didn't do well on the quizzes, I found the lectures very interesting. I had a difficult time waiting for the next set of videos to be released! I would highly Read More
This was my first astronomy course and I enjoyed it immensely. Prof. Brown gives the class depth and warmth. There is even some humorous moments. Although I didn't do well on the quizzes, I found the lectures very interesting. I had a difficult time waiting for the next set of videos to be released! I would highly recommend this course for anyone, even the beginner. There are some points that you may not understand, but there is lots of information that you will. In the end this course will at the very least spark interest in the night sky above. Thank you to Prof. Brown and his guest lecturers for putting this course together.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Mike is a great teacher, and his lectures were excellent. His enthusiasm for the material shows. The chance to learn from someone at this level is fantastic. He finally has convinced me that it was necessary to reclassify Pluto. Unfortunately, it was difficult to navigate the homework, especially without a book, and Read More
Mike is a great teacher, and his lectures were excellent. His enthusiasm for the material shows. The chance to learn from someone at this level is fantastic.

He finally has convinced me that it was necessary to reclassify Pluto.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to navigate the homework, especially without a book, and just your notes from the videos. I have never been the best note taker. It would have really helped if there had been an online book, or even a PDF with the important math & formulas, plus text to reinforce the lectures and the important concepts. Perhaps future students could build a Wiki to go with the class.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
David Talbot completed this course.
A fantastic run through of the current state of scientific knowledge of the solar system. Don't expect the homework to be easy, even if the course is free it is a course from Cal Tech, one of the top schools on the planet and the questions are designed to make you think rather than just parrot a fact from the lectures Read More
A fantastic run through of the current state of scientific knowledge of the solar system. Don't expect the homework to be easy, even if the course is free it is a course from Cal Tech, one of the top schools on the planet and the questions are designed to make you think rather than just parrot a fact from the lectures in reply. Prof Brown even gave us the question sets he gave the on campus students to play with for fun.

Prof is very engaged in the forums and there was loads to learnt on there as well.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Joanne L Kennedy completed this course.
Fantastic course, extremely well presented by Professor Mike Brown. Prof Brown is an inspirational educator who is passionate about his subject and very engaging. I found the course difficult in places due to my lack of understanding of physics, but I made it through and still managed to score 95%! If you are inter Read More
Fantastic course, extremely well presented by Professor Mike Brown. Prof Brown is an inspirational educator who is passionate about his subject and very engaging.

I found the course difficult in places due to my lack of understanding of physics, but I made it through and still managed to score 95%!

If you are interested in finding out more about the Solar System with current updates added as new information is discovered, then take this course - you will not regret it - time well spent.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
This class was like a good book. You turn the first page, and there is no return. Mike Brown made accessible to all a quite difficult subject. I have no scientific background, but yet managed to stick with it to the end. It was one of those memorable classes where the chemistry between participants and Prof was at the Read More
This class was like a good book. You turn the first page, and there is no return. Mike Brown made accessible to all a quite difficult subject. I have no scientific background, but yet managed to stick with it to the end. It was one of those memorable classes where the chemistry between participants and Prof was at the very top. I can't wait to attend this class again next year, just for the fun.

What are you waiting for? Sign now, you will not regret it. Have fun!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
A very satisfying class. The lectures were accompanied but non required readings which went into lots more detail. Professor was quick to respond to online discussions and worked hard to make the quizzes challenging but fair. Of the four online classes I have taken this is the best so far. I learned much about our sola Read More
A very satisfying class. The lectures were accompanied but non required readings which went into lots more detail. Professor was quick to respond to online discussions and worked hard to make the quizzes challenging but fair. Of the four online classes I have taken this is the best so far. I learned much about our solar system and how it formed. A solid high school level of math and the sciences is reccomended.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Eric Drechsel completed this course.
If you are interested in the solar system and exoplanets, you will find this course fascinating. Mike Brown works at the front lines of planetary science, and is an engaging speaker who cares deeply about the subject. The video lectures are carefully edited and the pacing is excellent.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
I found the lectures interesting and very enjoyable with very detailed explanation of various astronomical concepts. However, watch out for the homework (quizzes). They are challenging, not just asking you to provide an answer but to think about the question, often requiring you to think about the question and identify which one among several answers is not correct.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
This is a great course, the density of information can seem too heavy sometimes, but definitely worth finishing! There is a lot to learn about planets and other bodies in our Solar System, so I would recommend it to everybody who is interested in that subject. Mike Brown is an excellent lecturer, and this course is definitely worth checking out.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
This class has to be the BEST class I have ever taken- MOOC or otherwise! Instructor was engaging and really presented a great deal of difficult information in a manner that was easy to follow and learn. I would highly recommend this class to everyone- whether or not you are math inclined. I can't say enough good things about it!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Em Daprof completed this course.
This is a very interesting course and Mike Brown is AWESOME. He explains everything clearly and really makes you think. The homework and courses are very well paced. I didn't know much about the solar system before and I found myself wishing the course would go on and on. Thanks, Mike!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
profile picture
Sue Gee completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
Fast paced and in depth the course reveals a lot about Mars, Jupiter, small bodies in the solar system and planets around other stars. The focus is on how to study them - i.e. the science needed to understand them.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Adrian C. completed this course.
Nice course, supported by scientfic papers and observations. Mike is fun, easy to follow. It will take you from Mars to the fringes of the solar System, focusing at the end on the posibilities of life on another planets.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
I thought it was a nicely done class, with well-organized units. Some of the homework problems were a bit tricky in my opinion, but they highlighted the material.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
This is one of my favourites Mooc I have taken recently , Prof. brown is really a good teacher and very engaging, the course covers many fantastic topic. I fell in love with our solar system since
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Olympia Ralli completed this course.
This course give you the privilege to see the sky through the scientific way. You will learn all the latest data about our solar system from the inspired and expert prof Brown. Simply the best!!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Fátima Pereira is taking this course right now, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
It's brilliant!

Good college level challenge. Solid scientific background and interesting information. Guest lecturers take us into their scientific work and share their enthusiasm with us.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Don Denesiuk completed this course.
More challenging than I ( non college graduate) thought it would be but very interesting. I consider myself a space enthusiast but I learned many new things I had never heard of before.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Nathaniel Zhu completed this course.
I really enjoyed learning about the Solar System with Dr. Mike Brown. His lectures weren't too long or too short and they provided great information on the Science of the Solar System.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
I thoroughly recommend this class for anyone interested in the solar system. Mike Brown has made a light-hearted but thoroughly informative course which I found riveting from the start
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
One of the best courses I have done. A very engaging lecturer, some fabulous science, and I love the lecturing style. Would love to do it all again!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Loved the class. Always been interested in the planets. Very informative and taught very well
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
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 subjec Read More
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).
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Being a working person and hearing about this course via twitter, I attempted the work and found it somewhat conflicting with the various other aspects of life. I felt it divulged intricate details of the methods used by scientists to arrive at their hypothesis and then during quiz time was asked to imitate the scien Read More
Being a working person and hearing about this course via twitter, I attempted the work and found it somewhat conflicting with the various other aspects of life.

I felt it divulged intricate details of the methods used by scientists to arrive at their hypothesis and then during quiz time was asked to imitate the scientist. just a bit more than I had bargained for.

Overall, and had I had the time to devote to an upper echelon class as this, the information presented was useful and I'm sure I will recall much that was taught to me in the future
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 years ago
Gabriel Eduardo is taking this course right now.
Anyone interested not only in planetary science, but in science in general should take this course, it is fascinating and very interesting. From the first moment you are captured by the professor Mike Brown who is a very good teacher and one of the top scientists on the subject. Go and take it if you are planning on becoming a scientist.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
A challenging but worthwhile course from a true expert in the field. The videos are well worth watching if you have any interest in planetary science. Unfortunately, the homework questions often seem only tangentially related to the most important content of the lectures.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
11 months ago
Pat Bowden completed this course.
Very well presented course. Plenty of optional material for those who want even more depth of knowledge. Quite challenging for my 40-year-old high school maths and physics but oh so satisfying when I finished the course!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Extremely detailed, engaging, tough at tiimes, but overall very satisfying!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Someone completed this course and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
9 months ago
Erasmia Birmpila completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 years ago
Met Bay completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
3 months ago
profile picture
Emma Stock completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO

Write a review

How would you rate this course? *
How much of the course did you finish? *
Review
Create Review