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: 03/20/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.



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

  Clear, cloudy, or rain? If it's a Saturday night, then YES, we ARE open!

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.
  March 2019
Saturday,
March 23
7pm

Long Island and Rise of American Aviation and Air Power

Less than a decade after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, Long Island became the epicenter of American aviation. On the Hempstead Plains, the new industry arose, with the first flying schools and aircraft assembly plants, plus races at Belmont Park. Military airfields began operations, especially pilot training during the First World War. The area also became the focal point of pioneering distance flights following the First World War, including Lindbergh’s flight to Paris.

With the coming of the Second World War, Grumman, Republic and many smaller companies produced thousands of combat planes and all manner of avionics equipment. Long Island continued to supply military planes to the Navy and Air Force for another half century, but the crowning moment for Long Island aerospace came in the summer of 1969, when the Grumman Moon Lander arrived on the moon.

  April 2019
Saturday,
April 13
7pm

Lecture: Observing the Moon.

The Moon is our nearest celestial neighbor. You can view the moon with binoculars or even a small, 60 mm telescope can provide significant detail. Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will discuss the best times to view the Moon as well as observing tools. He will also identify interesting things to look for, including the Apollo landing sights. After the presentation Ed will be available for Q&A and if the weather is clear, he will open the ASLI dome on the grounds of Custer Observatory which houses a 14” Meade LX200 computerized telescope. Weather permitting, Custer Observatory staff will also give tours of the night sky through the Zerochromat telescope in the main observatory dome and other powerful telescopes on site. Feel free to bring your own binoculars or telescope to look through after the presentation. Or just enjoy the view from ours!
Suggested donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children under 12.

Sat & Sun,
April 6 & 7

Enjoy the event with Custer members and other astronomers at SUNY Rockland Community College

Bringing you the Universe in two exciting event-packed days, NEAF is renowned worldwide as the ultimate astronomy and space experience. Nowhere else can you find so much in one place or at one time.
Featuring:
  • World-Renowned Speakers
  • 120 Vendors & Exhibitors
  • NEAF Solar Star Party Daily Observing
  • Daily Presentations & Talks
  • AND MUCH MORE!

    NASA’s 1st flight to moon, Apollo 8, marks 50th anniversary
  • Don Pettit, NASA Astronaut
  • Jim Green, NASA Chief Scientist
  • Alan Stern, NASA Principal Investigator, New Horizons Mission
  • James Hanson, Neil Armstrong biographer

Saturday,
April 13

4pm

Custer Board Meeting, members welcome.


  May 2019
Saturday,
May 11
ASTRONOMY DAY

details coming soon!


Saturday,
May 18

4pm

Custer Board Meeting, members welcome. Stay for the follwing program...


Saturday,
May 18
8pm

Open Discussion Night.

Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will be leading an open discussion. Come and ask questions about buying binoculars or telescopes. If you already have a telescope he can discuss using your telescope, eyepieces, Barlow lenses, filters and other things related to visual astronomy. He can also discuss how to find things in the sky. After the presentation, if the weather is clear, Ed will open the ASLI dome on the grounds of Custer Observatory which houses a 14” Meade LX200 computerized telescope. Weather permitting, Custer Observatory staff will also give tours of the night sky through the Zerochromat telescope in the main observatory dome and other powerful telescopes on site. Feel free to bring your own binoculars or telescope to look through or just enjoy the view from ours!
Suggested donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children under 12

  June 2019
Saturday,
June 8
The Rites of Spring Music Fest.

Get ready for amazing music - details coming soon!


Saturday,
June 15

4pm

Annual Membership Meeting and BBQ. Details coming.

Saturday,
June 22
pm

Saturday,
June 22
8pm

Lecture: Getting Started in Astronomy with Binoculars.

Many people already own binoculars but have never thought to turn them to the sky. Even a 7X50 mm binoculars gather 50 times more light than the naked eye and so will reveal stars and structures that you cannot see with your eyes alone. Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will discuss types of binoculars and what to look for if you are buying binoculars for astronomy. He will also discuss how to adjust them, how to hold them and how to mount them. After the presentation Ed will bring the group outside (weather permitting) to point out interesting binocular targets, so bring your own binoculars, whatever size, if you have them. Or bring your telescope, as many of these targets look good with a telescope too. Ed will be available for Q&A after the presentation and if the weather is clear, Custer Observatory staff will give tours of the night sky through the Zerochromat telescope in the main observatory dome and other powerful telescopes on site.
Suggested donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children under 12

  July 2019

Saturday,
July 13

4pm

Custer Board Meeting, members welcome.


Saturday,
July 20

5:30pm

Apollo Anniversary Program, Details coming.


Saturday,
July 20
8pm

Lecture - Observing the Gas Giants: Jupiter and Saturn

Jupiter is the king of the planets because it is the largest in our solar system and Saturn is the rock star because of its beautiful rings. Using binoculars we can see 4 of Jupiter’s moons which are in different positions every night. And some of Saturn's moons can be seen through a telescope. Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will provide tips on how to get the most out of your observing of these two planets as well as tools and techniques that will help you see more. After the session, if the weather is good, he will open the ASLI dome on the grounds of Custer Observatory and turn the 14” telescope on Jupiter as he discusses the view and answers questions. Weather permitting, Custer Observatory staff will also give tours of the night sky through the Zerochromat telescope in the main observatory dome and other powerful telescopes on site. Feel free to bring your own binoculars or telescope to look through after the presentation. Or just enjoy the view from ours!
Suggested donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children under 12

  August 2019

Saturday,
August 24

Starfest (Jamboree), Details coming!



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.