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Analyzing the Universe

Rutgers University via Coursera


Using publicly available data from NASA of actual satellite observations of astronomical x-ray sources, we explore some of the mysteries of the cosmos, including neutron stars, black holes, quasars and supernovae. We will analyze energy spectra and time series data to understand how these incredible objects work. We utilize an imaging tool called DS9 to explore the amazing diversity of astronomical observations that have made x-ray astronomy one of the most active and exciting fields of scientific investigation in the past 50 years.

Each week we will explore a different facet of x-ray astronomy. Beginning with an introduction to the nature of image formation, we then move on to examples of how our imaging program, DS9, can aid our understanding of real satellite data. You will using the actual data that scientists use when doing their work. Nothing is "canned". You will be able to appreciate the excitement that astronomers felt when they made their important discoveries concerning periodic binary x-ray sources, supernovae and their remnants, and extragalactic sources that have shaped our understanding of cosmology.

Taught by

Terry A. Matilsky


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4.2 rating, based on 6 reviews

Start your review of Analyzing the Universe

  • Kristina Šekrst completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This is a unique course out of many astrophysical MOOCs offered, since it focuses on analysis. You will be using a DS9 tool and really do X-ray spectroscopic etc. analysis of various space phenomena. That was the most fun part of the course. It also features lectures on basic cosmology and astrophysics, with a detailed course wiki. Assignments aren't difficult, but there's a lot of calculations, however easy ones, and half of them include DS9 work. Don't worry - a detailed tutorial is given as the first module, so what are you waiting for? Go and analyze the universe from beautiful images with high-tech software.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course is interesting. The professor is very enthusiastic about his field. IMHOit isn't for beginners in astronomy....way too much math. The course is 6 weeks and with the material covered it should be 10 to 12 weeks. I lasted 3 weeks and gave it up when I saw the 3rd week quiz/homework. I couldn't answer a single question without hours of age 74, life is too short to be stressed out.
  • Billie J Osborne

    Billie J Osborne completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Very interesting course with an enthusiastic instructor. I admit to a couple "Penny" moments, but was able to work them through. A deep space program (DS9) using pics from the x-ray telescope, Chandra, was used in several of the quizzes. I would take more courses from this instructor if they were available.
  • Arnaud Dion

    Arnaud Dion completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This course is really fantastic ! It gives you a deep view in the field of high energy (X rays) astrophysics. There is also practical work with a software for astronomy. Processing real data from a scientific satellite is really interesting. The maths are easy, nothing more than a few equations.
  • Michal
    This course is OK but not really entertaining. The content of the lectures failed to catch my attention, possibly because there's too much time spent in DS9 - specialized app used to analyze x-ray data. Beginner level would be correct - the tests are pretty straightforward.
  • Pravir Kumar Arya

    Pravir Kumar Arya completed this course.

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