Welcome to the Custer Institute & Observatory

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

All observing is done out in the open air, under the stars. Dress appropriately.
Please wear a mask when inside the buildings.

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: 05/09/22

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,
May 28

7 pm

 

Raindate:
June 4th

7PM

NEW MUSIC UNDER THE BIG SKY.

oct2

The Rites of Spring Music Festival returns to Custer Observatory, presenting this 7th edition live performance outdoors under a NoFo sunset!

New Music Under the Big Sky will take you on a journey to create an immersive musical evening like nothing you have experienced before. The performance features Rites of Spring Ensemble (R o S Ensemble), a new group that embodies the spirit of the new music culture and is dedicated to performing innovative, collaborative, and exciting works of living composers and the contemporary works from composers of the recent past.

Whether you're a classical lover or a lover of extraordinary experiences, New Music Under the Big Sky pushes the boundaries of a traditional music event. This program presents new music by Rohwer, Psathas, Reich, Roche, Goliov, Villa-Lobos and Richter for a very exciting evening of music and stargazing!

R o S Ensemble aims to bring people together and focus on what is happening today in the global arts world. Come and slow down with us, be immersed with music, lights and stars!

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.

To learn more about this program, follow the ticket link below.

$45 Adult, $35 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 is scheduled for June 4 at 7:00pm.
Please bring a blanket or chair to enjoy this outdoor event.

register
Friday,
June 3

6 pm

CUSTER HONEY BEE CLUB MEET.

oct2

Join us for our Honey Bee Club monthly meeting!

Custer's Honey Bee Club is a group of enthusiastic beekeepers and bee lovers who get together once a month to share their honey bee experiences and learn from each other about how to keep bees, sustainable bee practices and hive management. At these informal meetings, you will have a chance to meet and mingle with beekeepers of all levels, from the novice beekeeper to the professional. Custer Institute has a community bee yard and other facilities that allows for hands-on collaborative learning and demonstrations, and which is surrounded by a beautiful arboretum. Not yet a beekeeper, but want to learn what beekeeping is all about? Are you a backyard beekeeper looking for other backyard beekeepers? Or a professional beekeeper interested in getting involved with the growing North Fork beekeeping movement? Come join us!

FREE to attend. We ask that you register in advance as this will guide our preparations and plans for the meeting. Registration is not required to attend.

register
Saturday,
June 11
8 pm

 

Raindate:
June 25

8PM

AN AMERICAN SUNRISE.

oct2

Join us for an evening of traditional indigenous music, archeoastronomy, & poetry of the first Native American poet laureate under the stars!

The evening will begin at 8:00pm with an exhibit featuring Native American archaeoastronomy presented by The Long Island Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association at the Southold Indian Museum (directly across the street from Custer Observatory).

Following your visit to the museum, join us on the lawn at Custer Observatory for an outdoor concert and poetry beginning at 9:00pm. In this outdoor program, Sicanni Purizaca will perform Andean traditional flute music that highlights the culture of people indigenous to the Americas and music that originated in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Its traditional sounds are based on ancient musical instruments such as native bamboo and wooden flutes, and drums from leather of native animals. Many of the rhythms that Sicanni integrates into his music were discovered from different areas of the Americas. With the traditional music elements and some contemporary instruments, Sicanni and his ensemble make the traditional music enjoyable and rich while keeping the roots of the native sounds!

Listen to readings of excerpts from the chosen poetry collection “An American Sunrise” by performance company Teatro Yerbabruja, and learn about the importance of astronomy to indigenous cultures. “An American Sunrise” is a nationally best-selling poetry collection from the first Native American poet laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo. Joy's collection "reveals glimpses of life in Oklahoma's Muscogee Creek Nation alongside delicately rendered ruminations on memory, family and healing" (Drew Tewksbury, Los Angeles Times)

Sicanni Purizaca was born in Peru and has been playing traditional native american flutes for almost 30 years. He has recorded seven albums, four of which include his own musical compositions. Sicanni has travelled many countries and across the nation sharing his music. He has also taught native american flute playing at schools, in seminars and workshops. Currently he resides in Long Island, NY and is producing and recording a new album to be released in 2023.

This program is conducted in partnership with Teatro Yerbabruja, the Southold Indian Museum and the Shinnecock Indian Nation and is the final event in a National Endowment for the Arts BIG Read series presented by Yerbabruja. Showcasing a diverse range of themes, voices, and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community.

Following the presentation, Observatory staff will provide guided tours of the night sky (weather permitting) through the many telescopes on site, including the feature telescope in the Institute's historic observation dome.

$20 Adult, $15 Observatory & Museum Members, Children Under 16 FREE. A rain date for this program is scheduled for June 25 at 8:00pm.

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

To learn more about Teatro Yerbabruja visit http://www.teatroyerbabruja.org/
To learn more about the Southold Indian Museum visit http://www.southoldindianmuseum.com/
But whether the Moon is just a sliver or full, it's always great to see through our telescopes!

register
Saturday,
June 25

4:30 pm

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING & BBQ.

oct2

Join us for our annual meeting!

Join members of Custer Institute & Observatory for our annual meeting and board elections. This meeting will be held outdoors and will be followed by an outdoor BBQ and stargazing. This is a members-only event.

Regular members of the Institute in good standing are eligible to vote in the elections of the Board.

The Observatory will open to the public for stargazing at tours beginning at 8pm until midnight.

We ask that you please register in advance. A link will be sent to the email provided at time of registration to attend virtually if you choose to participate from the safety of your home or in case of inclement weather.

register
Friday,
July 1

6 pm

CUSTER HONEY BEE CLUB MEET.

oct2

Join us for our Honey Bee Club monthly meeting!

Custer's Honey Bee Club is a group of enthusiastic beekeepers and bee lovers who get together once a month to share their honey bee experiences and learn from each other about how to keep bees, sustainable bee practices and hive management. At these informal meetings, you will have a chance to meet and mingle with beekeepers of all levels, from the novice beekeeper to the professional. Custer Institute has a community bee yard and other facilities that allows for hands-on collaborative learning and demonstrations, and which is surrounded by a beautiful arboretum. Not yet a beekeeper, but want to learn what beekeeping is all about? Are you a backyard beekeeper looking for other backyard beekeepers? Or a professional beekeeper interested in getting involved with the growing North Fork beekeeping movement? Come join us!

FREE to attend. We ask that you register in advance as this will guide our preparations and plans for the meeting. Registration is not required to attend.

register
Saturday,
July 2

9 pm

 

Raindate:
July 23rd

9PM

GENE CASEY AND THE LONE SHARKS AT CUSTER OBSERVATORY.

oct2

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

Join us for a live outdoor concert under the stars with Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks!

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 is scheduled for July 23 at 9:00pm.

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

register

Saturday,
July 9

4:30 pm

Custer Board Meeting.

Members welcome.

Record Broken: Hubble Spots Farthest Star Ever Seen

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.