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About This Course

This course will be an introductory astronomy survey course with a strong emphasis in planetary science.

There will be overviews of all the major bodies in our solar system, as well as exoplanets, stars, galaxies, origins and evolution of the solar system and the universe, and the possibility of life in the universe. The course will cover significant solar system processes such as impact, tectonics, volcanism, atmospheric processes, effects of the solar wind, as well as the basics of orbital mechanics. Also covered will be the history of exploration of each of the bodies in our solar system. Planetary surfaces, atmospheres, interiors, magnetic fields, and ring systems and their associated origins and processes will be explored. Also, the Sun and its effects on the planets will be addressed. Though not an observational astronomy class per se, students will be taught how to and required to make basic observations of the night sky not requiring a telescope, of objects such as planets, the Moon, meteors, satellites, and stars.


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Academic Coaches

Michael Williams MOOC developer

Michael Williams

An Educational Provocateur aka HomelessEducator, is excited to be a part of "An Open Community of Successful Learning"

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Course Authors

Author of Course #1

Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist and LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

A planetary scientist who earned a B.S. in physics and math and an M.S. in Applied Physics from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science with a minor in Geology from Caltech. He spent several years with San Juan Institute/Planetary Science Institute as a Research Scientist, and later Senior Research Scientist. He studied planetary surfaces, including Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter’s moons, using infrared and other data, and published several scientific papers on these subjects. Dr. Betts spent three years at NASA headquarters managing planetary instrument development programs to design spacecraft science instruments.

Author of Course #2

Sal Khan

American educator who founded Khan Academy, a free online education platform and an organization with which he has produced over 6,500 video lessons teaching a wide spectrum of academic subjects, originally focusing on mathematics and sciences

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