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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Data-driven Astronomy by The University of Sydney

1,340 ratings

About the Course

Science is undergoing a data explosion, and astronomy is leading the way. Modern telescopes produce terabytes of data per observation, and the simulations required to model our observable Universe push supercomputers to their limits. To analyse this data scientists need to be able to think computationally to solve problems. In this course you will investigate the challenges of working with large datasets: how to implement algorithms that work; how to use databases to manage your data; and how to learn from your data with machine learning tools. The focus is on practical skills - all the activities will be done in Python 3, a modern programming language used throughout astronomy. Regardless of whether you’re already a scientist, studying to become one, or just interested in how modern astronomy works ‘under the bonnet’, this course will help you explore astronomy: from planets, to pulsars to black holes. Course outline: Week 1: Thinking about data - Principles of computational thinking - Discovering pulsars in radio images Week 2: Big data makes things slow - How to work out the time complexity of algorithms - Exploring the black holes at the centres of massive galaxies Week 3: Querying data using SQL - How to use databases to analyse your data - Investigating exoplanets in other solar systems Week 4: Managing your data - How to set up databases to manage your data - Exploring the lifecycle of stars in our Galaxy Week 5: Learning from data: regression - Using machine learning tools to investigate your data - Calculating the redshifts of distant galaxies Week 6: Learning from data: classification - Using machine learning tools to classify your data - Investigating different types of galaxies Each week will also have an interview with a data-driven astronomy expert. Note that some knowledge of Python is assumed, including variables, control structures, data structures, functions, and working with files....

Top reviews


Sep 17, 2020

Very Nice course, materials well explained though the programming exercises were very difficult for me, as I did not had that much in depth knowledge of python, for which I had to take additional help


Sep 10, 2020

Really amazing course! Gave me insights into how data analysis works in the field of astronomy and how one can use different machine learning techniques to classify the huge amounts of data generated.

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51 - 75 of 383 Reviews for Data-driven Astronomy

By John C

Aug 3, 2021

The course has been excellently structured for online learning. Each step builds on the next, and took me along a path where I learned new skills and knowledge that stuck. I was glad to see some of my old-school computing skills - doing memory space calculations in my head - are still relevant today.

Thoroughly recommend it for anyone with an interest in astronomy, and data processing

By Tara S

May 27, 2017

I absolutely loved this course. I can honestly say this is my favorite class I've ever taken. What a perfect blend of real astronomy, programming, Python, SQL, machine-learning, and data analysis. Thank you SO much for creating/curating this course, and for all the mentors for their help and insight. I wish I could do this type of work for a living. Well-done!! Five stars.

By Alan M

Oct 12, 2017

Although, I gave a five star, but I have following notes:

It was brilliantly structured on shaping and combining scientific problems with data science to tackle those issue. However, it could use few more examples to add to our current skills. Thank you again. That was the course I was looking for, after taking a course on Machine Learning by Andrea NG, from Stanford University.

By Ruth P

Aug 7, 2017

This course was absolutely fascinating, thank you so much! I especially enjoyed the discussions about actually thinking through the data instead of just jumping in with whatever tool or algorithm you normally use, loved the short astronomical overview pieces and their quizzes, and the bonus material - interviews of people working in the "real world" out there - was great.

By Jaya D B

Apr 5, 2023

This is a great course where we learn about astronomy as well as how to process astronomical data using python programming language, machine learning and SQL. The quizzes and programming assignments really help to apply and grasp the concepts learnt in the lectures better. It is a great introductory course for anyone who is passionate about astronomy and programming .

By Kao K

Apr 24, 2020

Great Course! The practice section on Grok platform is what makes it especially good, considering you don't really need to setup a programming environment on your own machine. Additionally, each module has a very interesting problem, that you dive into to create a working solution step-by-step to obtain a visible result, which is satisfying and encouraging to go further.

By Ondrej M

May 16, 2019

I have enjoyed fully the whole course which helped me to connect my professional skills in coding and data analytics with my hobby - astronomy. The lectures were clear, very well understandable, motivated me to make my own research and the Grok platform is very well suited for getting the "hands on" experience. I also appreciate links to external tools and data sources.

By Steve J

Jan 6, 2023

Enjoyed this course a lot - nice introduction to some of the python techniques used.

I have a decent background in astronomy and astrophysics but that isnt really necessary. This is a good run through the various different approaches to both access, store and analyse data while framing this around galaxy classification that builds as you progress through the course.

By Nazarov A P

Jul 17, 2017

Very good intraductional course to modern astronomy that is nowadys more and more science about data. Not so much astronomy theory but good programing tasks, sometimes challenging, especially in the starting weeks. As addition some introduction in machine learning is provided. I would recommend it to everyone interested in data analysis in modern science.


Aug 19, 2019

Un curso introductorio, de dificultad variable (quizás más duro al principio que al final) muy interesante tanto para enlazar teoría y práctica en el campo de la Astronomía, para iniciarse en las técnicas y conceptos clave del Machine Learning, como para desarrollar o refrescar el pensamiento algorítmico-computacional.

En resumen: MUY BUEN CURSO

By Javier H

Aug 27, 2020

Very good course for anybody, with a knowledge about programming with Python and without them, im a engineering student and i love the modules to plot beautiful variables relation graphics and finding the more important values on a big source of data. Qualified teachers and a interesting application to use Python and learn at the same time.

By H S

Jul 16, 2020

The practical approach really enabled me to learn more. Instead of just lectures and quizzes, the programming problem sets challenged me to properly learn different features of python. Since I am new to programming, I had to use a lot of outside sources to complete the code. I had to engage significantly more with the problems posed.

By Roger H

Jun 14, 2020

Very enjoyable and practical dive into astronomy concepts. I think the machine learning part could have been a bit more advanced but now I understand it is meant to be an intro-level practical tutorial in both machine learning concepts/data science concepts and how they apply to astronomy. In this respect, the course does quite well.

By Amit K

May 19, 2020

The course, video, practice, all are really good. But one who is joining this, really need good python practice and knowledge of astronomy. In the discussion forum it may take some time but reply comes. I’ll suggest for making it better further. It is really awesome. One join the course and take advantage of it. Thank you all.

By Alexei M

Aug 11, 2017

A great place to get hands dirty for those who are interested in how modern astronomy handles and does science with observational data. Good for both amateur astronomers and professionals. I enjoyed the course very much. Impressive is how practical part of programming was made available and worked smooth most of the time.

By Andre R

Oct 1, 2020

One of the best online courses I've taken. Dr. T is an excellent communicator. Course is nicely chunked to make it challenging, yet encouraging. First data science class I've taken in which the datasets are interesting - not simulated, no flower petals or handwriting. Fingers crossed for DL class from these instructors.

By Akash P

Sep 10, 2017

Most of all courses in astronomy and astrophysics are just introduction to subject or provides little advanced theoretical perspective but this is one of the courses which teach us practical astronomy and let us have insights of how astronomers really use physics as well as computers to to get something good out of it.

By Samrat M

Jan 16, 2019

The course was just epic. Anyone who wants to learn about the application of Machine Learning in the field of Astronomy , this course is a must. The activities will be like the instructor is sitting just by your side, and guiding you, which is what any beginner wants to start their journey. The course is just awesome.

By Fausto B D S T

Mar 3, 2021

I just can't thank the staff enough for the effort in making this high quality course available. It was an amazing learning experience.

If you want to learn about some of the most amazing aspects of our physical universe while having fun with python and machine learning, just go for it! It is definetely worth it!

By Egor Z

Dec 10, 2019

Amazing course about the Sky above. Here is python code practice with NumPy and Astropy libraries - very useful for me.

But, I didn't understand that guy, just at the end of 2nd week talking. Little bit boring stuff. I think better to show the beauty of the astronomy data in visual aspect and more (in sound).

By Juanu H

Jan 25, 2019

Besides being a Senior Developer, and Junior Data Scientist, I also am a Self Taught astronomer, and this course has given me a lot of knowledge and insights about astronomy, andways in which I can practice my self learning carrear in astronomy (and maybe astrophysics?) Awesome course! Highly recommended!

By Harshna G

Jul 22, 2020

Such a great introduction course to data-driven astronomy! As someone working full-time the fact that it was only 6 weeks length - meant that it was easy to complete! Tara and Simon are great at explaining concepts and the interactive tool for python/SQL provides real-world example problems! Loved it!

By Ahmad S

Jun 21, 2020

Just AWESOME! I absolutely loved. Great staff, fun syllabus. I'd recommend it to anyone with a CS background seeking a look on how beautiful the universe is (if you're already bored with pop-science videos.) The most surprising thing about the MOOC actually is how integral CS is to modern astronomy.

By Alan S

Apr 19, 2017

A very interesting course, even though I am not an astronomer. Plenty of examples on the use of Python for data handling, ML classification of astronomical objects (sklearn), plus a neat section on RDMS usage (postgresql + python). Many thanks to all at astro-sydney for their help and Coursera.

By Dhrithi R

Dec 14, 2022

Thank you for this course. I come from a technical background and this course feels tailor made for me. It is a great introduction to astronomy, Python, Sql and Mtl. It is put together very well and the exercises feel like a hands on session. Enjoyed every bit of this learning experience.