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: 08/06/Two Thousand Nineteen

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.
  August 2019

What's Up: August 2019

August 10


This critically-acclaimed group will perform works from their newest, unreleased album which reflects on the cosmos and our journey and genesis from stardust to our current state of being. Fittingly, this concert occurs as the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower nears, when the Earth passes through the dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. This dramatic meteor shower can be viewed with the naked eye. Following the concert (weather permitting), guests will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse at the burning dust from Comet Swift-Tuttle as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere (bring a blanket or chair) and to look through the many telescopes on site, guided by expert staff.

Blow Up Hollywood is an underground American ambient art-rock collective. Their eclectic sound, built over a decade of recording, incorporates many different styles, diverse as progressive rock, post-rock, experimental, pop, classical, jazz and ambient soundscapes. Blow Up Hollywood has created an expansive and adventurous body of work that manages to be both highly emotionally charged and majestically anonymous.

$15 Advance/$20 at the door. $12 Members. $10 Children under 16.

Friday & Saturday,

23 & 24

Custer Institute presents a festival on all things Astronomy from Friday August 23 through Saturday August 24. This two day festival will feature fun and engaging activities for the whole family. Attend all or part of the activities and bring a tent to spend the night on our South Lawn (pre-registration required for camping). All programs will be held at Custer Observatory. Outdoor activities are subject to the weather.

Suggested Donation:
$40 Family or Individual Tickets at $20 Adult, $10 Student/Senior, $10 Observatory Member
Purchase tickets online, below.

Schedule of Events

Friday August 23

6:00 pm Registration Begins – Camping Set Up in the field (limited spots, campers must pre-register)
6:30 pm BBQ and Marshmallow roasting
8:00 pm Astronomical Poetry
8:30 pm Astronomer’s Drinking Song
9:00 pm – 10:30 pm Tour of the Constellations with Steve Bellavia – South Lawn
9:00 pm – 12:00 am Observing Through Custer’s Telescopes

Saturday August 24

10:00 am Bagel Breakfast for the Campers
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm Bouncy House, Planetarium Shows, Solar Observing, Radio Astronomy Demonstration, Kids Astronomy Crafts
3:45 pm Workshop: Planisphere Use
4:30 pm Dinner Break: BBQ on the East Lawn or on your own.
7:30 pm Fred Hess Memorial Lecture – Edward Anderson – Telescope Observing Basics
8:30 pm – 11:00 pm Tour of interesting astronomical objects – Ed Anderson – East Lawn
9:00 pm – 10:30 pm Tour of the Constellations with Steve Bellavia – South Lawn
9:00 pm – 12:00 am Observing Through Custer’s Telescopes

  September 2019

Sept. 14


Ever wonder what might be on Einstein’s playlist if iTunes was around during the turn of the 20th Century? This concert aims to provide insight into the connection between Albert Einstein, the scientist, and his passion for music. For all ages to enjoy, this performance is designed to educate and entertain listeners in an area of Einstein’s life that is not often highlighted.

Join members of The Red Door Chamber Players as they present this fun introspect into Einstein’s close relationship to classical music. They will perform selections of chamber music by the composers who inspired the Nobel Prize winner throughout his life. Experience the passion he had for his violin and how it inspired his life’s work in this lovely evening of chamber music.

Stargazing through the Observatory telescopes will follow the concert (weather permitting).

Suggested Donation: $15 Adults, $12 Observatory Member, $10 Children under 16.

Sept. 28


Although Galileo’s scientific achievements are widely known, the legendary "father of modern science" was a member of a distinguished family of musicians and was himself an accomplished player of the lute, the most important household instrument of the Renaissance.

In celebration of Galileo's musical family and upbringing, world-renowned lutenist Dr. Christopher Morrongiello will perform a magnificent recital featuring works composed by Galileo's father and brother (Vincenzo and Michelangelo Galilei, respectively), and their distinguished contemporaries (Francesco da Milano, John Dowland, and Emmanuel Adriaenssen). His recital will be played on an authentic, gut-strung Renaissance lute and presented in the unique acoustical splendor of the Custer Observatory dome. This intimate recital promises to be a most memorable experience. Not to be missed! Come hear the instrument that Renaissance humanists thought was perfectly able to evoke the harmony of the spheres.

Lutenist Christopher Morrongiello, a former British Marshall Scholar, is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music, Royal College of Music, and University of Oxford, where he earned a doctorate in musicology. As a recitalist, he has performed to critical acclaim throughout Europe and the United States. In 1993 he was a prizewinner in the BBC Radio Two Young Musician of the Year Competition, and in 1996 awarded a Marco Fodella Foundation Scholarship for studies and research in Milan, Italy.

Morrongiello is a professor in music history at Hofstra University and teaches lute and related historical plucked instruments in his private studio in Long Island. He is a member of the Venere Lute Quartet and directs the New York-based Bacheler Consort. He is a frequent guest artist of many leading early music groups. He is also Artistic Director of the Long Island Early Music Festival, now entering its 4th season.

Morrongiello has recorded for EMI, Avie Records, Gamut Music, the Lute Society of America, Visionaire, and the BBC. Recently, the Metropolitan Museum of Art produced several video recordings of his playing on a gut-strung, sixteenth-century lute, as well as on copies of lutes, in its renowned musical instrument collection.

Stargazing (weather permitting) will follow the concert.
$20 Advance/$25 at the door. $15 Observatory Members.

  October 2019

October 5

 International Observe the Moon Night.  Details coming.

  November 2019


Events coming!

  December 2019


Events 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.