Welcome to the Custer Institute

The Custer Institute and Observatory is Long Island's oldest public observatory (est.1927). Open to the public every Saturday evening from dark until midnight, our staff of volunteers will give you a tour of the facilities and the night sky through our powerful telescopes. Custer has frequent lectures, classes,concerts, art exhibits and other special events. Consider our observatory for your next meeting or theme party.

Click for Tonight's Weather in Southold.





J. Anthony Tyson, LSST Chief Scientist
with Steve Bellavia & Justine Haupt

That's Tony Tyson, the father of the LSST. He was the one who conceived the entire idea of a high-etendue telescope to do astronomy like it has never been done before. He also was one of the first people to use CCD's for astronomy.

Steve and Justine got to meet Tony Tyson at a recent meeting regarding the LSST and the work being done at Brookhaven National Lab.

Tony Tyson is the Chief Scientist of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. His research interests are in cosmology, dark matter, dark energy, observational optical astronomy, experimental gravitational physics, and new instrumentation. He has been a Distinguished Professor of Physics at UC Davis since 2003. He received his Ph.D. degree from University of Wisconsin in 1967 and was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories from 1969 to 2003.
Isn't good to know Custer's telescopes are being cared for
by the same people working on the LSST?




NGC 6946 and Open Cluster NGC 6939, by Steve Bellavia

Steve Bellavia recently took this photo of NGC 6946 (The Fireworks Galaxy, or Caldwell 12) and Open cluster NGC 6939 from a farm field, Lupton Point Road, Mattituck, NY, October 19th, 2014, 9:00PM to 11:00 PM

NGC 6946, (also known as the Fireworks Galaxy, Arp 29, and Caldwell 12), is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 22.5 million light-years away, in the constellations Cepheus and Cygnus. It was discovered by William Herschel on September 9, 1798. NGC 6946 is highly obscured by interstellar matter of the Milky Way galaxy, as it is quite close to the galactic plane. Nine supernovae (SN 1917A, SN 1939C, SN 1948B, SN 1968D, SN 1969P, SN 1980K, SN 2002hh, SN 2004et, and SN 2008S) in the last 60 years or so, have been observed in NGC 6946.

NGC 6939 is an open cluster visible in the constellation of Cepheus . NGC 6939 was identified for the first time by William Herschel in 1798, through a 18.7 inch reflecting telescope. Its distance is estimated to be 3860 light years and thus falls within the Orion Arm , at a region very rich in molecular clouds. Its age is between 1.0 and 1.3 billion years, making it rather old, though not among the oldest known.

What did he use to take this picture?

Camera: Canon EOS T3
Scope: Astronomics 6-inch f/4 Imaging Newtonian (with EZ-Finder Deluxe reflex finder to approximately locate object and then did 30 second at ISO 6400 trial-and-error/slewing, until found object and then centered it). Baader multi-purpose Coma corrector. (no change in focal length). This gives an image scale of 112 x 75 arc-minutes.
Mount: A Celestron CG5/CGEM (No computer or guidescope capability).




Click for Tonight's Weather in Southold.


As the days get cooler, the night comes earlier. However, remembering that Custer is run by volunteers, despite the time of darkness, Custer will open at 7pm. Observing from the dome will begin after 8pm. See you then!




Weather Permitting:

Saturday Night Observing, open to public, dark to midnight, weather permitting Staff provide guided tours of the sky. Clouds, fog, rain, and full moon nights are not good nights. The less moon, the better for most observing. Check the moon calendar. Plan your visit by reading this.



Updated: 11-28-14
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