Welcome to the Custer Institute & Observatory

Long Island's oldest public observatory (est. 1927)



Support Custer through General Donations, Building & Restoration Project, and by becoming a Member!

All observing is done out in the open air, under the stars. Dress appropriately.
Please wear a mask when inside the buildings.

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, exhibit room, and gift shop. Frequent lectures, classes,concerts, art exhibits and other special events.







Updated: 06/21/22

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.


Check back often for the lastest information regarding programs and news.


Everyone loves the moon! Check the phase of the Moon here and remember, less moon = darker skies which is what you need to see many deep sky objects such as those found in the Messier Catalog or the NGC Objects. But whether the Moon is just a sliver or full, it's always great to see through our telescopes!

As a volunteer organization, we can really only guarantee to answer the phone Saturday nights when we are there. Check back here and our facebook page for the latest information.
Saturday,
June 25

4:30 pm

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING & BBQ.

oct2

Join us for our annual meeting!

Join members of Custer Institute & Observatory for our annual meeting and board elections. This meeting will be held outdoors and will be followed by an outdoor BBQ and stargazing. This is a members-only event.

Regular members of the Institute in good standing are eligible to vote in the elections of the Board.

The Observatory will open to the public for stargazing at tours beginning at 8pm until midnight.

We ask that you please register in advance. A link will be sent to the email provided at time of registration to attend virtually if you choose to participate from the safety of your home or in case of inclement weather.

register
Friday,
July 1

6 pm

CUSTER HONEY BEE CLUB MEET.

oct2

Join us for our Honey Bee Club monthly meeting!

Custer's Honey Bee Club is a group of enthusiastic beekeepers and bee lovers who get together once a month to share their honey bee experiences and learn from each other about how to keep bees, sustainable bee practices and hive management. At these informal meetings, you will have a chance to meet and mingle with beekeepers of all levels, from the novice beekeeper to the professional. Custer Institute has a community bee yard and other facilities that allows for hands-on collaborative learning and demonstrations, and which is surrounded by a beautiful arboretum. Not yet a beekeeper, but want to learn what beekeeping is all about? Are you a backyard beekeeper looking for other backyard beekeepers? Or a professional beekeeper interested in getting involved with the growing North Fork beekeeping movement? Come join us!

FREE to attend. We ask that you register in advance as this will guide our preparations and plans for the meeting. Registration is not required to attend.

register
Saturday,
July 2

9 pm

 

Raindate:
July 23rd

9PM

GENE CASEY AND THE LONE SHARKS AT CUSTER OBSERVATORY.

july2.jpg

Celebrate the summer with a live outdoor concert by Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks under the North Fork starry night sky!

Join us for a live outdoor concert under the stars with Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks!

A local legend with a self-described “rough-hewn and honest” style, Casey helped develop the North Fork music scene before one existed and has developed a reputation for his fun, upbeat performances that bring the crowd to their feet (The Sound of the North Fork, Northforker June2019).

Gene’s original music met with great acclaim and received significant local and international radio play. Several of his roots-drenched songs have been used in “A Prairie Home Companion” and on the soundtracks to television and feature films, including “Justified” and “Sons of Anarchy”, the 2012 thriller “The Tall Man” starring Jessica Biel, the 2013 release “The Killing Season” starring Robert DeNiro, and Rob Reiner’s “Being Charlie.

In 2015, Gene, “the premier barroom troubadour of Eastern Long Island” (Josh Alan Friedman) received the Long Island Sound Award by the L.I. Music Hall of Fame, “for contributions to the Island’s musical landscape.”

Following the concert, Observatory staff will provide guided tours of the night sky (weather permitting) through our many telescopes on site, including the apochromatic Zerochromat telescope in our historic observation dome.

$20 Adult, $15 Observatory Member, Children Under 16 FREE. Attendance will be limited so advanced registration is strongly encouraged. A rain date for this program is scheduled for July 23 at 9:00pm.

Please bring a blanket or chair to enjoy this outdoor presentation.

register

Saturday,
July 9

4:30 pm

Custer Board Meeting.

Members welcome.
Saturday,
July 16

9 pm

 

Raindate:
July 30th

9PM

EXPLORING & NAVIGATING THE SUMMER NIGHT SKY.

july16

Learn how to explore and navigate the summer night sky, including the summer constellations, and stories behind them!
Gazing up at a star-filled night sky is awesome and humbling. To the novice stargazer, it can be overwhelming and disorienting. Throughout history, the night sky has served many functions to humanity- a clock, a calendar, a compass, a map and even a story book. Join stargazing lecturer Randall DiGiuseppe of the Custer Institute & Observatory for an evening of learning the basics of navigating the night sky as well as learning the locations and the folklore behind the most prominent constellations of summer.

Learn how to spot the North Star, the Summer Triangle, the Milky Way Galaxy, and the stories behind summer’s most well-known constellations. Learn also how to find your way around the night sky and how to use it to orient yourself on the ground.

This event is open to everyone. Just bring an inquisitive mind, a blanket and your imagination.

Randall DiGiuseppe is a professional artist, lecturer, telescope builder and amateur astronomer for over four decades. He is a lifetime member of the Custer Institute and Observatory and recipient of the Astronomical League’s Messier Award. He conducts lectures on the dynamics, history and art of the night sky throughout the country.

Following the presentation, Observatory staff will provide guided tours of the night sky (weather permitting) through the many telescopes on site, including the apochromatic Zerochromat telescope in our historic observation dome.

$5 Adult, $3 Children Under 16, Observatory Member FREE. Your donations make it possible to offer programs like these and are greatly appreciated. Due to limited space, registration is strongly encouraged.

A rain date for this outdoor program is scheduled for July 30 at 9:00pm. Please bring a blanket or chair to enjoy the presentation.

register

Friday,
Aug 5

6 pm

CUSTER HONEY BEE CLUB MEET.

oct2

Join us for our Honey Bee Club monthly meeting!

Custer's Honey Bee Club is a group of enthusiastic beekeepers and bee lovers who get together once a month to share their honey bee experiences and learn from each other about how to keep bees, sustainable bee practices and hive management. At these informal meetings, you will have a chance to meet and mingle with beekeepers of all levels, from the novice beekeeper to the professional. Custer Institute has a community bee yard and other facilities that allows for hands-on collaborative learning and demonstrations and which is surrounded by a beautiful arboretum. Not yet a beekeeper, but want to learn what beekeeping is all about? Are you a backyard beekeeper looking for other backyard beekeepers? Or a professional beekeeper interested in getting involved with the growing North Fork beekeeping movement? Come join us!

FREE to attend. We ask that you register in advance as this will guide our preparations and plans for the meeting. Registration is not required to attend.

register
Saturday,
Aug 13

8:30 pm

 

Raindate:
Aug 20th

8:30 PM

THE INVISIBLE UNIVERSE.

aug13

Discover the mysteries of our universe in this outdoor presentation!

A large portion of the universe cannot be seen by the human eye, or even with very large optical telescopes. But radio and gravity waves can be detected, helping us unravel the mysteries of space and time.

We are now exploring the universe in wavelengths well beyond the human eye and the latest non-visible schemes, using gravity waves as predicted by Albert Einstein. Only recently, have these predictions made by Einstein been proven to be true. See what we now have come to learn about our invisible universe!

The presenter, Steven Bellavia, is currently the principal mechanical engineer for the camera on the Vera Rubin telescope (formerly called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, LSST) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he has worked since 1992. Prior to that, Steve was doing research and engineering for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory. As an aerospace engineer for Grumman Aerospace with the Thermodynamics Group of the Space Division he played a key role in developing a nuclear rocket engine and with the design, fabrication, and analysis of a micro-gravity liquid droplet radiator that flew on Space Shuttle mission STS-029.

Steve has been recognized for the discovery of the Clair Obscure effect "Lunar L", which is described in the December 2018 issue of Astronomy magazine. He is also an assistant adjunct professor of astronomy and physics at Suffolk County Community College and the Astronomy Education and Outreach Coordinator at Custer Institute and Observatory.

Following the presentation, Observatory staff will provide guided tours of the night sky (weather permitting) through the many telescopes on site, including the apochromatic Zerochromat telescope in our historic observation dome.

$5 Adult, $3 Children Under 16, Observatory Members FREE. Your donations make it possible to offer programs like these and are greatly appreciated. Due to limited space, registration is strongly encouraged.

A rain date for this outdoor program is scheduled for August 20 at 8:30pm. Please bring a blanket or chair to enjoy this outdoor presentation.

register

Friday,
Sept 2

6 pm

CUSTER HONEY BEE CLUB MEET.

oct2

Join us for our Honey Bee Club monthly meeting!

Custer's Honey Bee Club is a group of enthusiastic beekeepers and bee lovers who get together once a month to share their honey bee experiences and learn from each other about how to keep bees, sustainable bee practices and hive management. At these informal meetings, you will have a chance to meet and mingle with beekeepers of all levels, from the novice beekeeper to the professional. Custer Institute has a community bee yard and other facilities that allows for hands-on collaborative learning and demonstrations and which is surrounded by a beautiful arboretum. Not yet a beekeeper, but want to learn what beekeeping is all about? Are you a backyard beekeeper looking for other backyard beekeepers? Or a professional beekeeper interested in getting involved with the growing North Fork beekeeping movement? Come join us!

FREE to attend. We ask that you register in advance as this will guide our preparations and plans for the meeting. Registration is not required to attend.

register
Saturday,
Sept 10

8 pm

 

Raindate:
Sept 24th

8 pm

EXPLORING & NAVIGATING THE AUTUMN NIGHT SKY.

sept10

Learn how to explore and navigate the autumn night sky, including the fall constellations, and stories behind them!

As summer winds down and Autumn approaches, a new host of celestial wonders graces the night sky. Staring up at the star-filled sky is awesome and humbling. It can also be overwhelming and disorienting. Throughout history, the night sky has served many functions to humanity- a clock, a calendar, a compass, a map and even a story book. Join stargazing lecturer Randall DiGiuseppe of the Custer Institute & Observatory for an evening of learning the basics of navigating the night sky as well as learning the locations and the folklore behind the most prominent constellations of the Fall.

Learn how to spot the North Star, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy, and the stories behind Autumn’s most popular constellations. You will learn your way around the night sky and how to use it to orient yourself from almost anywhere on Earth.

This event is being held outdoors and is open to everyone. Just bring an inquisitive mind, a blanket or chair and your imagination.

Randall DiGiuseppe is a professional artist, lecturer, telescope builder and amateur astronomer for over four decades. He is a lifetime member of the Custer Institute and Observatory and recipient of the Astronomical League’s Messier Award. He conducts lectures on the dynamics, history and art of the night sky throughout the country.

Following the presentation, Observatory staff will provide guided tours of the night sky (weather permitting) through the many telescopes on site, including the apochromatic Zerochromat telescope in our historic observation dome.

$5 Adult, $3 Children Under 16, Observatory Member FREE. Your donations make it possible to offer programs like these and are greatly appreciated. Due to limited space, registration is strongly encouraged.

A rain date for this outdoor program is scheduled for September 24 at 8:00pm. Please bring a blanket or chair to enjoy the presentation.

register


NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

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.