Welcome to the Custer Institute

The Custer Institute and Observatory is Long Island's oldest public observatory (est.1927). Open to the public every Saturday evening from dark until midnight, our staff of volunteers will give you a tour of the facilities and the night sky through our powerful telescopes. Custer has frequent lectures, classes,concerts, art exhibits and other special events. Consider our observatory for your next meeting or theme party.

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36th Annual Jamboree!


As the days get warmer, the night comes later. This time of the year it doesn't really get dark for observing until 9PM.  See you then!


This is Custer's 6 inch Alvan Clark refractor
and was the original telescope up in the dome.


Alvan Clark & Sons was an American maker of optics that became famous for crafting lenses for some of the largest refracting telescopes of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Alvan Clark company's assets were acquired by the Sprague-Hathaway Manufacturing Company in 1933, but continued to operate under the Clark name. In 1936, Sprague-Hathaway moved the Clark shop to a new location in West Somerville, Massachusetts, where manufacturing continued in association with the Perkin-Elmer Corporation, another maker of precision instruments. Most of Clark's equipment was disposed of as scrap during World War II, and Sprague-Hathaway itself was liquidated in 1958.

The "Elmer" of Perkin-Elmer is Charles Elmer, founder of the Custer Instute. You can see this telescope on display at Custer on Saturday nights.

36th Annual Jamboree!

FRIDAY EVENING programs, October 17th to be held at CUSTER INSTITUTE

SATURDAY MORNING & AFTERNOON, programs October 18ᵗͪ to be held at
Suffolk County Community College, Eastern Campus, Shinnecock Building

SATURDAY EVENING (5:30PM) events move to CUSTER INSTITUTE where will have dinner, a talk on Habitable Planets with Frederick Walter, PhD, and a night of observing.

SUNDAY MORNING programs, October 19th to be held at CUSTER INSTITUTE


Weather Permitting:

Saturday Night Observing, open to public, dark to midnight, weather permitting Staff provide guided tours of the sky. Clouds, fog, rain, and full moon nights are not good nights. The less moon, the better for most observing. Check the moon calendar. Plan your visit by reading this.



Updated: 09-20-14
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