Astronomy

Astronomy is a discipline taught in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Like Muggle Astronomy, this discipline deals with the study of stars and the skies.

Astronomy

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Astronomy was a discipline taught in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was one of the important core subjects that were taught from the beginning of the first year, unlike some electives, which were only picked up later in the third year. Furthermore, Astronomy was also a subject that was closely related to other electives like Divination and Arithmancy. It is also believed that Astronomy was one of the most popular subjects in the Uagadou School of Uganda, and the students there were specifically known to be skilled in Astronomy. 

A Brief History Of Astronomy In The Wizarding World

Astronomy has been a very essential discipline of study for a very long time, both in the wizarding world and the muggle world. It is mainly used to study the universe that lies beyond the earth. It is accomplished by studying the night skies and tracking patterns in the motions of planets, stars, comets, and other heavenly bodies. Astronomy classes also include studying constellations and other cosmic bodies such as the solar system and galaxies like the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. In the wizarding world, astronomers also use the information they collect from the heavens to guide their studies in other fields like Arithmancy and Divination. Arithmancy makes use of data from the skies and complex numerical patterns emerging from them to make predictions about events in the future. Divination uses similar data to make predictions about the future.

Magical Telescopes And Lenses

Magical telescopes and lenses were used in the wizarding world of Harry Potter to make observations in the night sky. One of the most popular shops for buying this equipment was Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, situated in Diagon Alley. They were known for selling a wide range of products related to Astronomy, including star charts, moon charts, telescopes, glass phials, and globes of the moon, planets, and the sun. Magical lenses and telescopes are believed to use some form of magic to magnify images of the heavenly bodies seen through them.

Astronomy In Harry Potter

Astronomy was taught in the Harry Potter series right from the time when Harry came to study at Hogwarts. In their first year, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their other classmates went atop the Astronomy Tower every Wednesday at midnight to study the movements of the planets and the names of stars. Aurora Sinistra taught Astronomy at Hogwarts during this period. Hermione Granger helped Ron Weasley learn the important details for their first-year exam, and she asked him questions related to Jupiter to help him remember them during the exams. In their third year, they were given homework assignments by Professor Sinistra to complete several star charts, and they later had practical exams for the same at the end of the year. It was the same year that they were introduced to Divination, and they were also exposed to some concepts closely related to Astronomy. 

In their fifth year, they were given a lot of homework during their Astronomy classes. They had to study Jupiter’s moons which included Io and Callisto. They were said to be discovered by Galileo Galilei. Io, Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa are four of the moons of Jupiter that are known as Galilean moons in the muggle world. They are named after the four lovers of Zeus, who is the leader of the pantheon of gods in Greek Mythology. They had to study these moons in detail, including writing an essay containing facts like Europa being covered in ice, which Harry accidentally wrote as mice, and Io containing a lot of volcanoes.

Their written exam for the OWLs took place on a Wednesday morning at Hogwarts in 1996, where they had to write about Jupiter. The practical exam for the OWLs required them to fill some blank star charts at midnight atop the Astronomy Tower. This was the same night that Hagrid was attempted to be captured by Dolores Umbridge and some Aurors from the Ministry. Still, eventually, Professor McGonagall was attacked by a few spells and rendered unconscious. 

The Astronomy Tower

The Astronomy Tower was among the tallest towers in Hogwarts Castle and was one of the most fascinating rooms of a magical castle. Believed to be the tallest tower at the castle, it was almost the same height as the Gryffindor dormitory and the Ravenclaw dormitory. Like the greenhouse where the mandrake plants were grown for the petrified to heal and Horace Slughorn’s classroom, which marked the place where both Tom Riddle and Harry asked for something from Horace Slughorn, the Astronomy Tower was also a very familiar place for Harry Potter fans as it was the place that Albus Dumbledore left from with Harry and returned there, only to be tried to be killed by Draco Malfoy, and to be killed by Severus Snape.

Albus Dumbledore had a locket that was meant to be a Horcrux with him, but it was eventually proved to be a fake locket kept by Regulus Arcturus Black, the brother of Sirius, in the cave that Dumbledore and Harry went to. In the Harry Potter movies, the Astronomy Tower was shown to have turrets leading into the lower floors on which Ron and Lavender Brown are seen walking.

Muggle Technology Versus The Wizard Magic

While Astronomy must probably require the same or at least similar kinds of tools both in the magical and muggle world, it is believed that the magical world must have had some variations made to its instruments to facilitate better usability of its instruments. For instance, while telescopes from both the muggle world and the magical world would require lenses to see the skies and the heavenly bodies, the telescopes in the muggle world would require very complicated adjustments that manually shift lenses to zoom or focus on objects, something that magic would easily solve. Magical telescopes, we imagine, would probably do the bidding of the wizard or witch at will, without having to turn levers or gears as muggle instruments require.

FAQs

What is Astronomy in Harry Potter?

Astronomy is the field of study of stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies, their relation to each other and their movements. It is a very vast discipline that is also studied by Muggles in the real world. However, Astronomy in Harry Potter is studied for a lot of things, including predicting outcomes in events of the future. It is closely related to other magical disciplines like Divination and Arithmancy. Astronomy was usually taught at Hogwarts at Midnight atop the Astronomy Tower on Wednesdays.

Who teaches Astronomy in Harry Potter?

Professor Aurora Sinistra teaches Astronomy in the Harry Potter series at Hogwarts. She teaches Astronomy to students from the first to fifth years and also teaches advanced disciplines within Astronomy to students of higher classes at Hogwarts. Advanced Astronomy papers are taken as electives by NEWT level students and Astronomy is taught as a compulsory subject from first to fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

What Harry Potter book is the Astronomy Tower in?

The Astronomy Tower features in several books of the Harry Potter series. It appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as Harry and Hermione deliver Norbert to Charlie Weasley’s friends. It appears in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as the students overhear Dolores Umbridge attacking Hagrid and Professor McGonagall from the top of the tower. It also appears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as Dumbledore is killed on it.

Astronomy
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