Welcome to the Custer Institute & Observatory

Long Island's oldest public observatory (est. 1927)
Suggested donation of $5 adults and $3 children.

All observing is done out in the open air, under the stars. Dress appropriately.

For the Curious

The Custer Institute and Observatory is Long Island's oldest public observatory (est.1927). Open to the public every Saturday evening from dusk until midnight, our staff of volunteers will give you a tour of the facilities and the night sky through our powerful telescopes. Custer has a library, museum, and gift shop. Frequent lectures, classes,concerts, art exhibits and other special events.


Custer Links

Updated: 12/01/Two Thousand Eighteen

Saturday Night Observing: Open 7pm-Midnight

Check our weather and the moon phase

Weather permitting, Saturday Night Observing is from 7pm to midnight where volunteer Staff provide guided tours of the sky.



  Beware the weather!
If there is or has been a snowstorm or icy roads near the date of the event, the programs will likely be cancelled and rescheduled.
Check back here for the latest information.
  Debember 2018
Saturday,
Dec 15.
6:30pm
A Jazzy Holiday with the Transitions Saxophone Quartet

Join us for a jazz-infused concert of holiday favorites including Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" Vince Guaraldi's music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas", selections from "The Nutcracker" as well as jazz arrangements of some popular holiday tunes. Stargazing (weather permitting) will follow.

Suggested Donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children Under 12


Saturday,
Jan. 5th
7-8 PM.
Lecture by Master Bee Keeper Chris Kelly: Starting in Beekeeping.

Local Master Beekeeper Chris Kelly will present a one hour lecture on some of the basics of beekeeping. Topics covered will include: the cost of getting started, equipment selection, site or hive placement considerations, and a brief overview of the beekeeping calendar year. Chris will also provide information on purchasing bees & equipment. Q & A follows.

Chris Kelly is a Cornell Master Beekeeper and a Cornell-trained entomologist with 48 years of experience keeping bees. As a former professional beekeeper, he helped develop connections with the leading researchers in Apiculture and maintains a perspective on the pressures of keeping bees today. He was one of the founding members of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative dedicated to the propagation of native plants and is currently the Director of Agricultural Operations for an environmental service responsible for re-vegetation of the eroded dunes on the shoreline and reviving waterfront areas throughout Brooklyn & Queens.

Chris is the owner of North Fork Promise Land Apiaries based in Mattituck, a sustainably managed operation of about 100 hives. In addition, Chris manages about 100 other hives for clients across Long Island. "Teaching people how to start and be successful in beekeeping has been a passion of mine for over thirty years."

Chris and the North Fork Promise Land Apiaries were recently featured by the Suffolk Times in an interview “What we Do”.

Stargazing will follow the presentation (weather permitting).
Suggested Donation $5 adults, $3 Children under 12.





Saturday,
Jan. 26
7pm
Buying your First Telescope – What you need to know.

After you have been to the Custer Observatory you may feel an awakening desire for a telescope of your own or to share with the family. This presentation is for you. Our speaker will be Ed Anderson, a member of ASLI, the Astronomical Society of Long Island and of the Custer Institute. His presentation will be divided into two parts. During the first part he will go though the essentials of what you need to consider when buying your first telescope. He will discuss how to read advertisements and how to compare packages. Ultimately picking the right telescope is as much about you as it is about the equipment. The second part of the discussion will go into more detail on the Optical Tube Assembly, the various types, the importance of mounts, the role of eyepieces and more. Stay for part or stay for all. Ed will be available for Q&A after the presentation. After the presentation, if conditions are favorable, Custer will have telescopes to provide wonderful views of the sky. Ed will open the ASLI dome, behind Custer, which houses a 14” Meade LX200 computerized telescope for those who would like to take a look at the sky through this scope.

Stargazing (weather permitting) will follow.
Suggested Donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children Under 12

Saturday,
Feb. 29
7pm
How to find things with your telescope.

You have your new telescope. You have enjoyed the Moon, perhaps the planets and a few bright things you can see in the sky. Now you want to see those hundreds of other wonders but you don’t know how to find them. Ed Anderson, a member of ASLI, the Astronomical Society of Long Island, and of the Custer Institute, will discuss easy ways for you to find galaxies, star clusters, nebula and more. After the presentation he will provide a demonstration of how a computer assisted GoTo scope works. He will also demonstrate how to find things using a phone app and AltAz coordinates. After the presentation, if conditions are favorable, Custer will have telescopes to provide wonderful views of the sky. Ed will open the ASLI dome, behind Custer, which houses a 14” Meade LX200 computerized telescope for those who would like to take a look at the sky through this scope.

Stargazing (weather permitting) will follow.
Suggested Donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children Under 12

Saturday,
March 9
7pm
Understanding Eyepieces, Enhancing the View.

You have your telescope and you have been having fun finding and observing the wonders of the sky. But you would like to expand your tools. The next thing you will want to add are eyepieces and perhaps a barlow lens. The ones that came with your scope are only a starting place. Ed will discuss how eyepieces work, what the specifications mean and how you would choose the right ones for your telescope to achieve your goals within your budget. Ed will bring examples. After the presentation, if conditions are favorable, Custer will have telescopes to provide wonderful views of the sky. Ed will open the ASLI dome, behind Custer, which houses a 14” Meade LX200 computerized telescope for those who would like to take a look at the sky through this scope and see how a change in eyepiece might enhance your enjoyment of the things you are observing.

Stargazing (weather permitting) will follow.
Suggested Donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children Under 12


Visit Custer!

Get a feel for the place and part of our must-see-in-person collection!

NASA TV Public-Education

NASA TV airs a variety of regularly scheduled, pre-recorded educational and public relations programming 24 hours a day on its various channels. The network also provides an array of live programming, such as 24-hour coverage of International Space Station events (spacewalks, media interviews, educational broadcasts), and rocket launches.