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The Science of the Solar System

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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Rating 4.9 based on 261 ratings
Length 11 weeks
Starts Jul 1 (in 6 weeks)
Cost $49
From Caltech via Coursera
Instructor Mike Brown
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Engineering Science
Tags Physical Science And Engineering Physics And Astronomy

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What people are saying

We analyzed reviews for this course to surface learners' thoughts about it

our solar system in 27 reviews

I learned much about our solar system and how it formed.

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.

I fell in love with our solar system since 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.

Anyone wanting to know basic current information about our Solar System and the new missions that support the continued discovery in this field should take this course.

You will get to learn some surprising facts about what we know and what we don't know about the members of our solar system.

:-) The video lectures are a fantastic and entertaining look at the puzzles of our solar system, how some of the answers are being teased out, and the special world of astronomy in general.

You will learn a great deal about the story behind our solar system, and the competing theories behind some of what has happened.

highly recommend in 23 reviews

I would highly recommend this course for anyone, even the beginner.

I would highly recommend this class to everyone- whether or not you are math inclined.

I highly recommend this course.

The Science of the Solar System is well worth taking and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in astronomy.

However, I highly recommend this course because it will make you really appreciate astronomy as a field and the solar system.

Highly recommend.

I highly recommend this class if you have even the slightest interest in astronomy or space exploration.

But besides that, it is an marvelous course, which i can highly recommend.

guest lecturers in 9 reviews

Thank you to Prof. Brown and his guest lecturers for putting this course together.

Selected special topics are presented by other Caltech faculty as guest lecturers, often those who have done original research on the topic, which adds to the depth of the material.

There are guest lecturers and the quality of their teaching is on average significantly lower than Brown's but don't worry, even when he is not there, he is still there: he has annotated their slides when their presentations were unclear.

The guest lecturers also present their contributions in a focused and enjoyable manner.

The guest lecturers and TA presentations were also great.

Many thanks to Prof. Brown, his graduate assistants, and guest lecturers!

Mike Brown is an excellent instructor, and he and the occasional guest lecturers are experts currently working on the topics they talk about, which is pretty exciting.

The instuctor is engaging and knowledgeable, and the guest lecturers (such as Heather Knutson) are amazing.

professor mike brown in 8 reviews

Fantastic course, extremely well presented by Professor Mike Brown.

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.

Thank you to all involved for an excellent ten weeks :) Professor Mike Brown is awesome.

Video format lectures are presented by Professor Mike Brown in a good-humored conversational style best watched at least once in advance of the week designated for the topic, especially if the learner would like to take part in or learn from an online discussion group.

Professor Mike Brown is great at what he does, and everything is well explained.

You will be amazed and astounded by the information and the sense of humor Professor Mike Brown uses to present the materials.

I had little interest in our solar system until I have enrolled to this course given by Professor Mike Brown.

Caltech Professor Mike Brown's excellent lecturing skills make it relatively easy to follow the course material.

small bodies in 8 reviews

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 sub-section on small bodies is a 1st quality jewel .

It focus on the astronomy, astrobiology and astrogeology aspects of Solar System exploration, and delves into the planets, small bodies (e.g.

Dr. Brown breaks into 4 parts: Mars, The Gas/Ice Giants, Small Bodies, and Life in the Solar System.

By looking at the history of water on Mars, the interiors of giant planets, the small bodies of the solar system, and the search for life, Prof Mike Brown covers a very wide and diverse array of issues.

Great coverage of the outer planets and small bodies.

I learned about Mars (Past, composition, land features), how the Moon was formed, how to determine the interior of planets, all about planet paths (can be eccentric), tons of facts about small bodies (comets, meteorites, asteriods), why Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore, the Oort cloud, the Kuiper belt, lots of information about past rockets and their missions, future rocket launches, and a whole lot more of interesting information.

This course covers a few major topics in planetary science: the history of the Martian surface, with particular attention to water; the interior structure of the giant planets; planet formation; the small bodies of the solar system; and prospects for finding life on other planets and moons in the solar system.

anyone interested in 8 reviews

I thoroughly recommend this class for anyone interested in the solar system.

Anyone interested not only in planetary science, but in science in general should take this course, it is fascinating and very interesting.

As a geologist, I finished the course with new insights of how research in my area of expertise may be useful in answering some of the big questions being tackled, and how important it is important in the exploration and understanding of the Solar System (as well as various other fields of science) .I recommend the experience for anyone interested in knowing more about the Solar System, or those interested in Planetary Sciences in general.

I would recommend this course to anyone interested in the solar system This course is enjoyable to watch.

I really do recommend the class to anyone interested in the real observational science that goes on in the continual discoveries being made within our own solar system, as well exo-planets beyond.


An overview of related careers and their average salaries in the US. Bars indicate income percentile.

Solar Administrative Coordinator $34k

Solar Specialist Expert $43k

Solar Canvasser $52k

Solar PV Sales $54k

Community Solar Specialist $57k

Solar Technician $65k

Solar PV Instructor $70k

Solar R&D Research Technician $76k

Commercial Solar Technician $76k

Solar Developer $76k

Inside Solar Specialist $84k

Solar R&D Technician $86k

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Rating 4.9 based on 261 ratings
Length 11 weeks
Starts Jul 1 (in 6 weeks)
Cost $49
From Caltech via Coursera
Instructor Mike Brown
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Engineering Science
Tags Physical Science And Engineering Physics And Astronomy

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