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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 subject[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 was not necessary.

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

Hogwarts class

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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 from year one until year five, and becomes an optional subject for the final two years.

In the fifth year, the Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations are taken. During the exam, students 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.[1] She was also teaching during Jacob's sibling's time at Hogwarts, and it became known to them in the 1985–1986 school year.[2]

Astronomy Tower top

Astronomy Tower, where class is held

Location and time

Astronomy classes take place in the highest 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 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.[3] Toward the end of the year, Hermione was quizzing Ron on Astronomy.[4] Their studying included using a map of Jupiter. It was noted that the studies on Jupiter continued into later years, when Harry tried to learn the names of Jupiter's moons in his fifth year of study at Hogwarts.[5]

Third Year

In the 1993-1994 school year, one of the homework assignments included drawing a star chart which probably means they studied stars that year[6], and they take a midnight exam at the end of the year.[7]

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]

The students study Jupiter's moons and write an essay for their homework containing facts such as Europa being covered by ice and Io having many volcanoes.[8] They fill in blank star charts[9] and the homework during this year became intensive enough that some students had to organise a meeting to help each other get through it.[10]

For the Astronomy O.W.L. exam in their fifth year, the written exam contained a section on Jupiter. In 1996, it was held on Wednesday morning. The practical exam took place in the evening at eleven o'clock, and each student had to "fill in a blank star chart" based on a few hours of observing the night sky.[5]

When Harry Potter was taking the Astronomy O.W.L. in 1996, 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."[5]

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.[5] 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. However, the Astronomy Tower was shown.
  • 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

Notes and references


Astronomy
AstronomyPottermore
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
BeauxbatonsCrestClearBg
Hogwartscrest
Ilvermorny Crest 4
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