While we get plenty of insight into all other subjects Harry took, the professors and what their lessons are like throughout the books, we do not see any Astronomy lessons happening, nor are the lessons or their timings ever mentioned. All we know is that Astronomy was taught by Prof.Sinistra, and that they had their lessons at the Astronomy tower.

Harry's Astronomy OWL exam is split into two sessions - theory in the morning, and practical exam at 11 pm so it would be conducive for stargazing.

Did the practical lessons happen during the night as well? Are the students exempted from curfew for these lessons? Are there any snippets in the books that I probably missed, regarding how and when these lessons took place, and who was good at it, or enjoyed it?

1 Answer 1


Astronomy lessons are never depicted in the series, probably because nothing of interest happens in them. However, we know that they had a practical component that took place at night; Harry reveals as much in Philosopher's Stone:

They had to study the night skies through their telescopes every Wednesday at midnight and learn the names of different stars and the movements of the planets.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Chapter 8: "The Potions Master"

But, aside from the highly eventful OWL exam in Order of the Phoenix, this is the closest we get to peeking into a lesson. We can presume that the students are exempted from curfew at this time (it would be a rather Kafkaesque scenario if they weren't), but there's simply not enough information to answer the rest of your questions.

  • I guess, in the interests of completeness, I could add that Ron wasn't very good at the subject and got lots of homework help from Hermione; but that's true of every subject, so I think you could have guessed it Sep 12, 2017 at 13:45
  • Thanks for the PS quote. I was wondering if I'd missed any information about Astronomy lessons, and there it is. I had actually forgotten about the homework help. I just find it odd that there was no mention of Astronomy lessons after that one line in PS. Their timetables are mentioned a few times and other not-so-important everyday schedules, quite a no. of times.
    – Anya Mae
    Sep 12, 2017 at 14:55
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    Additionally, 5 years x 2 houses of students (assuming 2 houses took the class together) + 2 NEWT years x 1 set (reduced no. of students) out at night for Astronomy lessons, would mean a little more than 2 sessions per night everyday of the week. Fairly large no. of students must have been out in the corridors getting to the class and back. I would think this must have coincided with atleast one of Harry's many night time adventures. Guess it's just something we should ignore assuming they just never crossed paths.
    – Anya Mae
    Sep 12, 2017 at 15:00
  • @AnyaMae It's possible that not every year had practical lessons (this would be disastrous pedagogy, but that's par for the course at Hogwarts), which may cut down that figure. But any justification is just plot spackle; Rowling isn't the kind of author who strives for total consistency Sep 12, 2017 at 15:13
  • Oh yes, it comes down to JKR's infamous Math skills. Still couldn't help but point it out and add a disclaimer saying we should probably just ignore the inconsistency!
    – Anya Mae
    Sep 12, 2017 at 15:42

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