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Astronomy

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"They had to study the night skies through their telescopes every Wednesday at midnight and learn the names of difficult stars and the movement of planets. "
Harry Potter summary of the suject[src]

Astronomy is a core class and subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Uagadou School of Magic. Astronomy is a branch of magic that studies stars and the movement of planets. It is a subject where the use of practical magic during lessons isn't necessary.

Uagadou students are known to be skilled in Astronomy, implying the teaching that is provided at Uagadou is excellent.

Hogwarts Class Information

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The study of stars

Astronomy lessons are spent learning the names of stars and the movements of planets. It is a required class for the first five years of study, and is optional in the last two.

In fifth year the Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations are taken. During the exam students must fill in a blank star chart. If a student achieves a passing O.W.L. score, they are allowed to advance to N.E.W.T.-level.

Astronomy is one of the only fields of study at Hogwarts which has a direct equivalent in the Muggle world. Known student activities include learning the names of stars, constellations, and planets, as well as their location and movements, and describing the environments of planets and moons.

Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment in Diagon Alley sells telescopes and other equipment needed for Astronomy.

Aurora Sinistra was the Astronomy professor at Hogwarts during Harry Potter's time as a student.

Astronomy Tower top

Astronomy Tower, where class is held

Location and time

Astronomy classes take place in the top-most level of the Astronomy Tower, the tallest tower in Hogwarts Castle, and include sky observation sessions with telescopes (each student has to buy one of his/her own).

Lesson times

Year Day Period
First Wednesday midnight
Fifth evening

Curriculum

First year

During the first year of studies at Hogwarts, students must study the night skies through their telescopes every Wednesday at midnight and learn the different names of the stars and the movements of the planets. Toward the end of the year, Hermione was quizzing Ron on Astronomy. Their studying included using a map of Jupiter. It was noted that Harry tried to learn the names of Jupiter's moons in his fifth year of study at Hogwarts.

Third Year

Although Astronomy lessons were not shown during his third year, one of the homework assignments included drawing a star chart which probably means they studied stars that year.

Fifth year

"Harry, yours is okay except for this bit at the end, I think you must have misheard Professor Sinistra. Europa's covered in ice, not mice."
—Hermione Granger during the 1995-1996 school year[src]

During the fifth year of studies at Hogwarts, students must study Jupiter's moons and write an essay containing facts such as Europa being covered by ice and Io having many volcanoes. For the Astronomy O.W.L. exam in their fifth year, each student has to "fill in a blank star chart" based on a few hours of observing the night sky. Coursework during this year was intensive enough that some students had to organise a meeting to help each other get through it.

Harry Potter was taking his Astronomy O.W.L. in 1996 when Rubeus Hagrid was confronted by Professor Umbridge and a team of Aurors in what was an attempted sacking, which was also the night that Minerva McGonagall took "no less than four Stunners to the chest."

Known professors

Professorsinistra

Professor Aurora Sinistra

Grades

Pass

Fail

Known O.W.L.s

Behind the scenes

  • During the O.W.L. exam, Harry focuses his telescope upon Venus at midnight. However, Venus's orbit is closer to the sun, and when it is midnight at a location, that part of the Earth is approximately facing completely away from the sun. Given these two facts, it is highly unlikely that Harry would have been able to see Venus regardless of Britain's high latitude and the proximity to the summer solstice due to line of sight issues, but the telescope may have been magical.
  • In the films, the Astronomy class is never seen or directly mentioned, and Professor Sinistra only appears as an unidentified background extra.
  • From the fact that it is common knowledge among wizards that Europa is icy and Io has volcanoes, it seems that, despite the separation of wizarding and Muggle cultures (and the wizarding ignorance of other scientific concepts such as electricity), Muggle science is well-known to wizard astronomers. Just how far wizarding knowledge of modern astronomy goes, though, is unknown. However, it is quite possible that the wizarding world has other means of conducting these studies without the use of Muggle technology since Professor Trelawney possessed a globe of the solar system that accurately depicts all the planets (including Pluto) and their moons. Furthermore, Harry Potter found a moving globe of the galaxy in Diagon Alley when he was staying at the Leaky Cauldron during the summer before his third year. This far surpasses the current state of Muggle knowledge, let alone what it was in the early 1990s.

See also

Appearances


Astronomy
Astronomy Classroom
Professors: Aurora Sinistra
Astronomy at Hogwarts: Astronomy department · Astronomy Tower · Astronomy Room · Astronomy Stairs · Astronomy Corridor · Astronomy reading room ·
Astronomy classroom
Astronomers: Aurora Sinistra · Copernicus · George von Rheticus · Perpetua Fancourt
Objects: Globe of the Moon · Lunascope · Moon chart · Orrery · Star chart · Telescope
Planets: Jupiter · Mars · Mercury · Neptune · Pluto · Saturn · Uranus · Venus
Satellites: Callisto · Europa · Ganymede · Io · Moon
Constellations: Bartholomeus · Orion


Wizarding Education
Beauxcrest Hogwarts shield DurmstrangCrest
The Eleven Schools: Beauxbatons · Castelobruxo · Durmstrang · Hogwarts · Ilvermorny · Koldovstoretz · Mahoutokoro · Uagadou
Specialised schools: Academy of Broom Flying · Charm School · Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages · Merge School of Under-Water Spellage · Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts
Examinations: First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams · Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test
Core classes: Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Elective classes: Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extra-curricular classes: Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Frog Choir · Ghoul Studies · Hogwarts orchestra · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy

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