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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.

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: 07/13/24

Saturday Night Observing: Open 8pm-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.


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,
July 20

4:30 pm

Custer Board Meeting.

Members welcome.

Saturday,
JULY 27

7:00PM


THE RITES OF SPRING MUSIC FESTIVAL presents SPIRIT IN THE MACHINE.


The Rites of Spring Music Festival returns to Custer Institute in their 9th season bringing contemporary music to our historic observatory!

Inspired by the writings of composer Marc Mellits of the saxophone quartet functioning as one machine powered by four individuals, this program highlights contemporary works for the ensemble influenced by funk, soul, post-minimalism; all with a lyrical tone that fuses with earlier works from the chamber music/classical canon that highlight a full palette of compositional and instrumental colors.

"Virtuosic to the core" (Textura) and hailed as "a tight-knit ensemble exploding with power and virtuosity" (Boston Musical Intelligencer), the Sinta Quartet is on a mission to bring the versatility, homogeneity, and excitement of the saxophone to audiences everywhere. Strengthening an already palpable connection with its audience by performing entirely from memory, the quartet provides a fresh take on chamber music that is at once beautiful, virtuosic, and a completely interactive experience.

Following the concert when the skies are dark, 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.

$40 Adult, $30 Custer Observatory Members and Friends of R o S, Children Under 16 FREE. Attendance to this in-person performance will be limited - reserve your seats early! Due to the outdoor nature of this program, a rain date will be scheduled as needed.

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

PROGRAM

Chris Hass (b. 1993) Volcanic Ash (2017) (8 minutes)
*Winner of 2017 DSQ Composition Competition

Perry Goldstein Motherless Child Variations(12 minutes)

Marc Mellits (b. 1966) Ex Machina (2017) (17 minutes)
Machine I (let the funk out) Machine II (flowing)
Machine III (not quite, but almost pensive; sunflowers in love)
Machine IV (dancing a mean ghastly dance)
Machine V (the morning after)
Machine VI (flowing, lyrical, & songlike
Machine VII (aggressive & funky)

-Intermission-

David Biedenbender (b. 1984) Cerulean (2017) (14 minutes)
I. Sirens
II. Lullaby
III. Goof Groove

J. S. Bach (1685 - 1750)/Graser
Selections from Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080 (post. 1751) (8 minutes)

John Mackey (b. 1973) Unquiet Spirits (2012) (12 minutes)
I.
II.
III.
Dan Graser, Soprano Saxophonist
Zach Stern, Alto Saxophonist
Joe Girard, Tenor Saxophonist
Danny Hawthorne, Baritone Saxophonist

The Sinta Quartet injects music and fun into the air for unsuspecting passersby by appearing in nontraditional venues such as grocery stores, bars, and other public places, but they have also performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, and the Beijing Center for the Performing Arts. Since forming in 2010 as soloists for a tour of China with the University of Michigan Symphony Band, the quartet has concertized in 9 countries, 32 states, and 2 Canadian provinces, giving diverse audiences a chance to experience a classical saxophone quartet for the first time. The Sinta Quartet made history in 2013 as the first saxophone ensemble to win the Victor Elmaleh First Prize from the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and continued to achieve success on the competition circuit, winning the Gold Medal at the 2018 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, First Prize at the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 2013 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and 1st Prize at the 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance Competition.

The quartet's programming takes the audience on an adventure through time, geography, and genre, often mixing classics from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries with commissions by today's composers and rollicking in-house arrangements from various folk traditions. In addition to their live performances, the quartet recently released two albums featuring predominantly recent commissions and winning pieces from Sinta Quartet's annual National Composition Competition. The first, Collider, hailed as, "An exciting ride! The ensemble, intonation, and technique in this recording are beyond question" (The Saxophonist Magazine), was released in 2019, and the second, Ex Machina, which was praised as "tightly performed and flawlessly recorded in generous, in-your-face sound" (Musical America), was released in 2020.

$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.

Please bring a blanket or chair to enjoy the presentation.

Registration/ticket portal is here:
register

Saturday,
August 3

9:00PM


EXPLORING AND NAVIGATING THE SUMMER NIGHT SKY.


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.

Please bring a blanket or chair to enjoy the presentation.

Registration/ticket portal is here:
register
Saturday,
August 10

8:30PM

EXPLORING AND NAVIGATING THE SUMMER NIGHT SKY

Enjoy Cliff Baldwin's mix of electroacoustic music composed exclusively for this year's Perseid Meteor Shower event at Custer Institute!
april22

Cliff Baldwin performs Trillions Mix, a multichannel electroacoustic mix featuring specific creatures and extraordinary surroundings from around the world.

The Perseid Meteor Shower and the Cicada Broods' Appearance are the inspiration in 2024 for this assemblage of aural wonder. Enjoy the night skies as you are whisked away to the sweet swamps of Okefenokee, the wild streets and rumbling freight yards of Kansas City, the Thai temple of Doi Suthep, the dwarf beech forests of our own North Fork and the nighttime shores of Nuku'alofa, Tonga. Sit back and enjoy the Perseids Meteor Shower while the music of our sphere washes over you!

Following the concert, guests can stay to continue viewing the Perseid Meteor shower on our lawn. Observatory staff will also be providing guided tours of night sky objects (weather permitting) through the many telescopes on site, including the apochromatic Zerochromat telescope in our historic observation dome.

$25 Adult, $20 Observatory Member, Children Under 16 FREE. Attendance will be limited so advanced registration is strongly encouraged. A rain date for this program will be scheduled as needed depending on weather.

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

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Cliff Baldwin is a resident artist, composer, designer, and filmmaker on the North Fork and has been creating electronic music for over 45 years. He is the founder of the Aquebogue Contemporary Music Ensemble [ACME], a group devoted to contemporary electronic music, that was featured in the Rites of Spring Music Festival from 2016-2019 on the North Fork of Long Island.

Some of Cliff's compositions include "The Kepler Music" performed at Custer Observatory in 2016, "ASTRI" and "LIGO-A-GOGO", outdoor sound and video mixes which debuted at the Observatory in 2020, and "Voicing the Caldwells", live 4-channel electroacoustic video piece which debuted at the Observatory in 2021. Cliff's "Damn Epic Pandemic" live mixes streamed throughout 2020 from his studio garden. And he recently composed and debuted "BLACK LOCUST: Solo for Locust Tree and Electronics" at Guild Hall in East Hampton.

As an artist, Cliff founded the large format artist publication AQUI! in the early nineteen eighties working with artists like Barbara Kruger, Gilbert & George, Les Levine and General Idea. For 17 years he orchestrated large scale installations and created multiples with Fluxus artist Davi Det Hompson as the artist duo Baldwin+Hompson. His latest architectural project, SHAVILION was built in 2022 in Aquebogue.

Please register in advance to help guide our preparations for the meeting.
Registration/Ticket Portal is here:
register
Saturday,
August 31

8:00PM

GENE CASEY AND THE LONE SHARKS RETURN TO CUSTER OBSERVATORY.

Celebrate the summer with a live outdoor concert by Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks under the North Fork starry night sky!
april22

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 will be scheduled as needed depending on weather.

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

Please register in advance to help guide our preparations for the meeting.
Registration/Ticket Portal is here:
register

Space Ambient Music LIVE 24/7

July 2024 Skywatching Tips from NASA

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.