Learning facilitated by good lecturing, well prepared lectures and excellent quizzes.\n\nLecturer Mike Brown, enthusiastic about his subject, generous in sharing his knowledge, humorous, and honest.
The lectures are engaging and replete with thought provoking material. Professor Brown's in depth knowledge of the field and his passion for planetary science aroused an everlasting curiosity.
par Pasquale D S•
It's a remarkable course, it makes you feel like attending a class at Caltech by one of the best (and funny!) planetary scientists in the world. Yes, there are a few (elementary) calculations needed (which is good!), but above all it shows you how one has acquired scientific knowledge on such fascinating topics. It leaves you with awe not because it's adopting a popular science attitude, but because it helps you understand the subject, avoiding technicalities when unnecessary but without refraining from them when useful or needed. It's a intellectually challenging yet rewarding experience, while remaining largely accessible to the motivated student. When over, you'll be sad! If I have to find a negative point: There is no recap/lecture notes provided, you have to rely on yours (like at a good old university classes!) and on the forum. On the other hand, hints and links to extra resources are provided, if you want to deepen the subject(s). Thanks to Prof. Brown, I'll never look at the Solar System the same way. I really hope that a more advanced course in similar subjects is provided some day, for those of us who are not afraid of calculus, of orbital mechanics, and some more advanced chemistry, geology and biology notions.
par Ignazio C•
This course is simply among the best I have attended online. It reviews some of the main features of the Solar System, exposing the most accredited data and theories to which they gave rise: from the presence of water on Mars to the possibilities of life on Europa, Titan and Enceladus, from the inside of the giant planets to the composition of meteorites, from the dynamics affecting formation and mutual influence of planets to the probabilistic estimate of the asteroid risk, from ultranettunian objects to comets, with insights into the detection and dynamics of extrasolar planetary systems, an area of astronomy that developed from the 90s onwards. The teacher is Mike Brown of Caltech (California Institute of Technology), famous for the discoveries of KBO objects such as Sedna, Eris and Makemake in the first decade of this century. In the last 30 years astronomy has been revolutionized by ground-based observations with increasingly powerful instruments, but above all by data from space probes and telescopes. The discovery of other planetary systems has allowed us to put our knowledge of the solar system in a comparative perspective. If you want to catch up, this is a great opportunity.
par nahuel m•
Recomiendo este curso sin lugar a dudas a todo aquel interesado o curioso con el mismo. La dificultad es media a baja, las clases son muy interesantes, se aprende mucho, hay una clara explicación de muchas de las publicaciones científicas que hoy nos permiten entender el sistema solar en el que vivimos y sus planetas. Algunas de las imágenes que se muestran son espectaculares.
Es destacable la calidad de las explicaciones, los primeras unidades sobre Marte son espectaculares y ayudan a engancharte con el curso.
Mike Brown es un excelente y agradable docente, y además alguien muy importante en la comunidad astronómica por sus descubrimientos de los planetas enanos cercanos a Plutón.
El curso abordan incluso el tema de los exoplanetas y de la vida.
La traducción de los videos no es perfecta, pero un mínimo inglés te permite interpretar bien los errores.
Algunas de las preguntas de las evaluaciones son desafiantes y realmente ayudan mucho en la comprensión.
De forma intensiva se puede completar en dos a tres semanas.
par Brian P•
Excellent overview of the current state of solar system exploration. The lectures were amazingly entertaining, even if the quiz questions were typically convoluted and designed for confusion. By sheer repetition, repeating the quizzes until all the answers are correct, the information is hammered home. The most interesting part of the course for me was the planetary science, the astrobiology coverage at the end was, of necessity, much less rigorous. Discussion of recent spacecraft exploration missions is good but it's hard to keep a topic like this up to date when the lectures are meant to be reused for multiple sessions of the course. Wanted to dislike the instructor because of his arrogance in the Pluto affair, even if I can't argue with the substance of it, but just couldn't because even though he is arrogant, he knows his stuff, is obviously good at what he does, and more importantly he communicates his knowledge really, really well.
par David S•
This was an absolutely amazing course. It was so interesting, well structured, clear, and easy to understand. Even the more complicated math and physics sections were fairly simplified, and if something was unclear, you could forget about the details or re-watch the lectures to understand. Mike Brown, who spoke for most of the lectures, clearly was very knowledgeable and passionate about the topics covered, and made the lectures light-hearted, which helped to enjoy and learn from this course. In my opinion, this course an absolute must for anybody remotely interested in space, as the topics covered really open up your mind, even if mostly restricted to just our solar system, and I say "just" very loosely here as I found even our own planetary system is so vast and intriguing. The only improvement I would say is to make the tests a bit easier, or lower the passing grade, but otherwise this course is phenomenal.
par Michele S•
This course was thoroughly enjoyable learning. Fabulously interesting subject matter and presented in a well-organized and energetic set of lectures that kept interest high throughout the course. Dr. Brown has a true gift for explaining complex ideas in simple terms. I am very satisfied with what I learned and will try to find other courses to continue the learning. A small suggestion that might help others with this, would be to include a 'Course Resources' page that might include: a list of space missions and dates, that those new to astronomy may not have committed to memory; a short list of constants often used in calculations (Stefan-Boltzmann, Temperature unit conversions).
(Then again, maybe it's better to have to search elsewhere for these things). All in all, a great introduction to the solar system and a delight to learn that I can still learn!
par Santanu C•
This has been a brilliant journey of 10 weeks. I learnt a lot of new things about our solar system, our sister planet Mars, and even the small comets and asteroids. This course taught us about the evolution of solar system, how we can search for life in distant systems and how much research is actively taking place in these fields. Professor Brown always incorporated research papers and real data to teach us most of the topics, this gave us an idea how to analyze data and why it is important to be skeptical while studying science. The quizzes have been thought-provoking. I am also glad to have had access to the vast resources and research papers that we were exposed to. Thank You. Looking forward to more courses from Caltech ( and may be Prof. Brown :) )
par Rashmi M•
An exceptionally well structured course which not just gives facts but tells how planetary scientists go about things and how do they do, what they do. Mike Brown as a teacher is amazing, never a dull moments in class. The quizzes help kind of summarize entire leanings. It has guest lecturers assess well as a field trip. It is the best Coursera course that I have taken till now. I am glad I took this. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in space, whether you have a bit of prior knowledge or none at all. This is a must course for people interested in space. I can go on and on. But you get my point, right? Just go for the course :)
par Davide D•
It has been an extraordinary journey, deep down through different exciting topics regarding solar and extra-solar system science! I think Dr. Mike Brown is one of the most inspiring persons I've ever seen, so fond and enthusiastic while explaining even the most difficult concepts during his lectures, together with his other colleagues scientists who have been as well passionate and clear while deepening into their research topics. Finally, many thanks to Coursera to have offered such a scientifically thorough and fascinating course, with an excellent organization of all its contents on both desktop and mobile version of the site!
par Joseph G•
Amazing course taught by a trully gifted instructor. I can't recall when I was this excited and became so passionate about a subject. The information presented and the passion of the instructor will motivate you to continue learning about these subjects long after you have completed the course.
I took this course for fun and I was not disappointed. The course encourages creative thinking. The problems in the quizzes and final force you to think about things and this is what really stimulates the learning process.
By far my most favorite class on Coursera. I even have a telescope on order as a result of taking this class.
par kevin k•
I am overwhelmed. This was an excellent course and Dr. Brown was one of the best knowledgable scientists and lecturers I have ever seen. It's been more than a few decades since I was last in a University classroom (Canada) and I found that this coursera format makes a great balance of online learning, and testing for knowledge acquired. Back to the content, sure there are some issues... numerous typos in transcripts, quiz material, bad audio in many spots, but when it worked 90%+ of the time it was exhilarating! Busy for the summer but come the fall (northern hemisphere) I will look for other courses by him.
par Simon C•
Who only five stars? Because that is all I have to give. I'm sorry, this course deserves more.
I am repeating this course,but not because I need to. I passed last year, but I know that there will be new material that I want to learn. I'm pleased to see that there are familiar faces from last year.
Prof. Mike Brown obviously know his stuff, and enjoys communicating it to students. There are plenty of references for students who want to explore things further. The discussion forums are excellent, with people sharing information, and Mike somehow finds the time to monitor the forums and contribute to the discussion.
par Richard H•
Having now taken a couple other Coursera MOOCs, I'm getting the feeling this one is even more exceptionally good than I realized when I took it. Aside from a few videos it's mostly presented by Prof. Mike Brown, who is erudite, engaging, and accomplished. The course emphasizes not the "what" but the "why" and "how" of the evolution of the Solar System. I like to think I'm fairly well informed about astronomy and astrophysics at a lay outsider's level but I learned a lot from this course. Remind me to re-take it after he revises it to cover the discovery (any year now) of Planet 9!
par Jocelino R•
Very good lecturer - keeps things interesting and uses of figures and results from published peer-reviewed papers. Explains things from first principles and does a very in depth historical analysis of the topics studied.
Only criticism I would give would be to have more regular feedback or tests regarding what is learnt. There are 4 topics in this course for the 10 week duration and there's only a test at the end of each topic. A test at the end of each week would keep students on their toes.
Nevertheless, still a 5 star course. Thanks for letting me take this!
par David G•
Professor Mike Brown does an excellent job of enthusiastically presenting the discoveries and future missions for the solar system. I found the subject matter to be fascinating. I needed to take extra time to study for the tests, because it was sometimes difficult to harvest the most important points from the plethora of information being taught. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the course, and I would recommend it for aspiring planet scientists and lifelong learners. Thank you Professor Brown, and I wish you continued success in your future endeavors!
par Scott M•
This is a great course. I'm a regular guy with no science education, just a keen interest in science and astronomy. The lectures delivered by Mike Brown and guests are clear and high quality, so even I could follow along. The mid-lecture questions, weekly quizzes, and final exam are designed to make you think about what you have learned rather than just regurgitate facts - this really helped me with the learning process. I just need to learn how to take better lecture notes for future courses. Thank you to all involved for an excellent ten weeks :)
par Kevin B•
I took this class out of personal interest in the matter, and it provided some very interesting insight (which I had hoped when I booked it). Prof. Brown is a really passionate teacher, and it is obvious that he really enjoys what he is doing. Besides, it is a really cool thing to be taught by a leading scientist on his field of research!
It would be nice if you were able to download the material in PDF or something to reread it afterwards, that would make the experience even more fun.
par Danilo K M•
Mike Brown is such a great professor. He makes the subjects, the classes so interesting so that you really want to learn more. I'm really going to miss him on my weeks, even though we never actually meet in real life.
Every class was interesting and I learnt many things, even for me that does not belong to the astronomy field, I will say that they are a little hard, even more if you do not have some background of science, but if you but some effort it is totally worth and rewarding.
par Peter M•
This is an absolutely amazing class. You will learn a great deal about the story behind our solar system, and the competing theories behind some of what has happened. It's wonderful, interesting, and at times even funny. It is worth every second of frustration and effort I put in.
I only took two science classes in college. If you have never taken a college level science class, this may be difficult. But it is extremely rewarding. If you struggle, keep fighting. You'll get there!
par Ray G•
I really enjoyed the Science of the solar system course, Mike Brown was both informative and engaging and I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to gain a wider understand of our solar system.
The content of the course was set out in easy to follow steps that walked you through our our solar system from Mars, to the gas and ice giants and what part they played in shaping the solar system we see today.
Once again a big thank you fro providing this on line course......
par Richard E•
This was definitely an excellent course, presenting interleaved layman and technical perspectives of our solar system. Not quite 5 stars but certainly better than 4 stars. Some issues: (1) Missing lecture transcripts. (2) The transcripts frequently need manual clean-up. (3) The case made for why Pluto is not a planet needs the addition of a more rigorous discussion of what should the definition of a planet be. I'd love to see a debate between Dr. Brown and Dr. Alan Stern!
par Huan W•
The best course I've ever taken, from which I've learned so much about the solar system, Jupiter's core and giant planets' migration model, asteroids and the stories they can tell about the evolution of the solar system, etc. But most of all, I've learned about how to analyze a complex problem, how did we get the conclusions, how did we research, and what kind of tools and methods can we use to dig through. Professor Brown is an amazing and ethuasitic instructor.
par Peiyu T•
Intriguing. Captivating. Thought-provoking. With Sir Mike Brown and the guest lecturers' enthusiasm in unwrapping the hidden messages of the Solar System, I got to grasp insights into planetary science and beyond. The concepts are well-explained though perhaps challenging for high school students like me. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a great starting point on your journey in the Universe, this course is definitely what you are looking for! Happy learning!
par Jana K•
I absolutely loved how the lections were prepared, I felt like I was having one to one conversations and I felt curious for next and next lecture. I was more interested in the lections starting with the 5th week - focused on Jupiter and outer Solar System as the first 4 weeks were focused on Mars, though even this topic was handled in an interesting way. I recommend this course as it gives a very nice overview of our Solar system, full on astonishing facts.
par Matthew F•
Highly recommended - fascinating course run by an incredibly engaging and clearly passionate professor.
I took the course as I had a casual interest in the subject, but it has made me question how I can incorporate further learning of the solar system (and beyond) into my career.
Many thanks for the time and expertise, including from the fascinating guest lecturers, put into creating and running this taster of what we have to learn from the solar system.