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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's summary of the subject[src]

Astronomy was a core class and subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Uagadou School of Magic. Astronomy is the branch of magic and science that studies stars and the movement of planets.[2] It was a subject where the use of practical magic and spells during lessons was not necessary.

Uagadou students were known to be skilled in Astronomy,[3] implying the teaching that was provided at Uagadou was excellent.

Class information

The study of the stars

Astronomy lessons were spent learning the names of stars and the movements of planets.[2] It was a required class from year one until year five,[2] and became an optional subject for the final two years.

In the fifth year, the Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations were taken. During the exam, students had to fill in a blank star chart.[4] If a student achieved a passing O.W.L. score, they were allowed to advance to N.E.W.T. level.

Astronomy was one of the only fields of study at Hogwarts which had a direct equivalent in the Muggle world. Known student activities included learning the names of stars, constellations, and planets, as well as their location and movements, and describing the environments of planets and moons.[2]

Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment in Diagon Alley sold telescopes and other equipment needed for Astronomy.[5] 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.[6]

Location and time

Classrooms

Astronomy Tower, where class is held

Astronomy classes took place in the highest level of the Astronomy Tower, the tallest tower in Hogwarts Castle, and included sky observation sessions with telescopes[2] (each student has to buy one of his/her own).[7]

Lesson times

Year Day Period
First Wednesday[2] midnight[2]
Fifth evening

Curriculum

First year

During the first year of studies at Hogwarts, students studied the night skies through their telescopes every Wednesday at midnight and learn the different names of the stars and the movements of the planets.[2] Towards the end of the 1991–1992 school year, Hermione Granger was quizzing Ron on Astronomy for preparation for their first year exams. Their studying included using a map of Jupiter.[8] 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.[4]

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,[9] and they take a midnight exam at the end of the year.[10]

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]

Hogwarts students studied Jupiter's moons and wrote an essay for their homework containing facts such as Europa being covered by ice and Io having many volcanoes.[11] They filled in blank star charts[12] and the homework during this year became intensive enough that some students had to organise a meeting to help each other get through it.[13]

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.[4]

When Harry Potter was taking the Astronomy O.W.L. in 1996, Rubeus Hagrid was confronted by Dolores Umbridge and a team of corrupt Aurors in what was an attempted sacking, which was also the night that Minerva McGonagall took "no less than four Stunners to the chest."[4]

Sixth year

Sixth year students studied constellations, including Cetus, lunar phases,[6] making star charts[14] the Cosmic Ages,[15] Space Weather[16] and Meteor Showers.[17]

Seventh year

Seventh year students studied Dark Cloud Constellations.[18]

Known professors

Grades

Passing Grades

Fail Grades

Known O.W.L.s

Behind the scenes

  • During the O.W.L. exam, Harry focuses his telescope upon Venus at midnight.[4] 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

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  3. Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Uagadou" at Wizarding World
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  5. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 25 (Written in the Stars) - Astronomy Lesson "Lunar Phases"
  7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady)
  10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 16 (Professor Trelawney's Prediction)
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) - GBA version
  14. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 29 (The Whomping Willow Awaits) - Astronomy Lesson "Making Star Charts"
  15. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 33 (Imitation Game) - Astronomy Lesson "Cosmic Ages"
  16. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 38 (Meeting the Merqueen) - Astronomy Lesson "Space Weather"
  17. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 42 (The Final Vault) - Astronomy Lesson (Meteor Showers)
  18. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 1 (Year Seven Begins) - Astronomy Lesson "Dark Cloud Constellations"
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts) - It is said that both Percy and Bill Weasley earned twelve Ordinary Wizarding Levels, meaning they must have earned an O.W.L. in this subject.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 5 (An Excess of Phlegm)
Astronomy
Astronomy Pottermore.png
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 · Hesper Starkey
Objects: Globe of the Moon · Lunascope · Moon chart · Orrery · Sextant · Star chart · Telescope
Planets: Jupiter · Mars · Mercury · Neptune · Pluto · Saturn · Uranus · Venus
Satellites: Callisto · Europa · Ganymede · Io · Moon
Constellations: Bartholomeus · Orion
Hogwarts Curriculum
Core classes Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Hogwartscrest.png
Elective classes Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extracurricular classes Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Ghoul Studies · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy
Examinations
First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams ·
Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test