Jeanne Finch, an American astronomer, recently said, “The magic that we can perform pales in comparison to the splendor of the moon’s glow, the power of a supernova, and the sheer vastness of the universe.” In attempting to understand various features of magic, our ancestors first turned to the skies. Although we began unearthing the mysteries of the heavens many millennia ago, we still fail to comprehend the intricacies of the space that surrounds us. Understanding the universe is a crucial piece in finding one’s magical identity and understanding the relations between mankind and magicfolk and the cosmos.
Something that makes Astronomy unique is that the magical study of Astronomy is more closely connected to Muggle research than any other study. In fact, some of the most esteemed astronomers of history, including Nicolaus Copernicus, decided to work with Muggle astronomers for hefty portions of their careers due to the wealth of information that Muggle astronomical techniques can lend us. On the other hand, magical and Muggle astronomy have distinct goals and methods, as discussed in the first chapter of this textbook. Still, your professor may recommend that you read Muggle sources on various topics, in order to understand the pivotal role that these Muggle methods have played in wizarding astronomy.
As is the case with most other topics in this series of textbooks, you cannot glean a true appreciation of the subject at hand without taking your telescope outside on a clear night and just watching the night sky. In revising this textbook, the MyHogwarts staff specifically aimed to aid our readers as they carry out their own observations. Even if you do not have some of the materials discussed readily available to you, a group may exist near you that shares its telescope with the community sporadically. Above all else, our goal in revising this textbook was to instill in students an appreciation for the whimsical, yet highly logical manner in which our universe operates.