Oct 19th 2015

Astrophysics: Exploring Exoplanets (edX)

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Explore the mysteries of exoplanets - planets around other stars – in this introductory astrophysics course.

The discovery of exoplanets is one of the greatest revolutions in modern astrophysics. Twenty years ago, we had no idea whether any of the countless stars out there beyond our solar system had planets or not.

Today, things are totally different. Over 1,000 planetary systems have been discovered. The universe is teeming with planets. And what strange planets they are - hot Jupiter-like planets skimming the surfaces of their stars, cold and lonely free-floating planets far from any star, planets made of diamond, planets with rain made of glass, super-Earths and even planets orbiting neutron stars. In this course, we’ll bring you up-to-date with the latest research on exoplanets, and how this research has revolutionised our understanding of the formation of solar systems like our own.

This course is designed for people who would like to get a deeper understanding of these mysteries than that offered by popular science articles and shows. You will need reasonable high-school level mathematics and physics to get the most out of this course.

This is the second of four ANUx courses which together make up the Australian National University's first year astrophysics program. It follows on from the introductory course on the Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe, and is followed by courses on the violent universe and on cosmology. These courses compromise the Astrophysics XSeries.

What you'll learn:

- An understanding of the different methods used to find and study exoplanets

- Knowledge of the results obtained by these methods

- An appreciation of how scientists tackle difficult problems