Welcome to the Custer Institute & Observatory

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

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

Telescopes, Binoculars, and More!

Custer has a large collection of telescopes of all sizes and descriptions. Some new, some old (some very old!), some built by members, and others rebuilt and modified by members.
Among them are:

  • 10" Zerochromat refracting telescope. It is the largest of its type in the United States. This is in the main observatory dome.

    Our 10” refracting telescope was manufactured in England by Zerochromat Telescopes. Designed by award-wining optician Peter Wise, the telescope’s unique dialyte lenses make it apochromatic, providing superior views of solar system and deep space objects. The folded light path construction uses mirrors to make the telescope a manageable size (still more than 6’ long), allowing the long f/12 focal length telescope to fit in our dome.
       The telescope is attached to a computer-controlled Fornax 152 equatorial mount, permitting easy aiming and object tracking. The entire assembly can be raised/lowered on the Pier-Tech pier to accommodate most users’ heights, for comfortable viewing. Custer’s Zerochromat telescope is the largest of its type in the United States.

  • 25" Obsession Newtonian reflector (currently in storage)
  • 20" Obsession Newtonian reflector (on loan from Tom Pennino)
  • 14" Celestron CGE-1400 Go-To Schmidt-Cassegrain
  • 14" Meade LX200GPS-SMT
  • 13" Newtonian dobsonian
  • 12½" Newtonian reflector
  • 12½" Newtonian reflector
  • 12" Springfield designed by Russell Porter.
  • 10½" Newtonian Odyssey reflector (The 'Blue Dob')
  • 10" Astro-binoculars, designed and built by long-time Custer member, Rico Verticchio, and on loan to Custer.
  • 9 ¼” Celestron CGE Go-To Schmidt-Cassegrain
  • 8" Cave Astrola Cassegrain.
  • 7" f/20 refractor
  • 6" Ceravolo Maksutov Newtonian
  • 6" f/10 Eichner refractor
  • 6" Alvan Clark refractor
  • 5" Alvan Clark student model refractor
  • 4½" James Short Gregorian Reflector (mid-18th century)
  • 4" Unitron refractor, f/14.7
  • 3.5" Bausch & Lomb refractor, f/13.7
  • 80mm Jaegers refractor, f/15.4
  • 2.4" brass refractor
  • 7x21 Ross Camera, f/7 with a 3" lens, accepting 8x10 and 4x5 inch plate film.
  • 8" SCT f/11 Canon TV Lens (mirror-lens design, converted for use as a telescope)
  • 8" SCT f/5.6 mirror-lens (attaches to TV studio camera)