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: 09/15/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.
  What's Up - September 2019
  September 2019

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

In cooperation with NASA, Custer Observatory will be participating in this special International Observe the Moon Night event.  This is a worldwide celebration of lunar science and exploration held annually since 2010. One day each year, everyone on Earth is invited to observe and learn about the Moon together, and to celebrate the cultural and personal connections we all have with our nearest celestial neighbor.

Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will give a talk from 7pm-8pm about observing the moon.  He will discuss how you can view the moon with binoculars or small telescope, he'll discuss the best times to view the Moon, useful observing tools, and he'll identify interesting things that will be visible that night.

After the presentation, if the weather is clear, in addition to the main Custer Observatory dome, Ed will open the 14” ASLI dome on the Custer Observatory grounds and focus it on the Moon for all to see. 

We would like to fill the Observatory property with lunar observers, so please bring your binoculars or telescope if you have one (not required).  At 9:00pm we will take an official count of the number of people observing the Moon at one time from the facilities at Custer Observatory.  Come join us!

Suggested Donation: FREE.  Donations may be given at time of event and are greatly appreciated.

October 12


Günter Raphael (1903-1960) was a skillful German-Jewish composer, organist, violinist, violist and educator who rose to prominence during the height of the Weimar Republic. Raphael held a prominent post at the Hochschule in Leipzig and his works were championed by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Busch Quartet. Raphael’s career was forever altered by the rise of the Nazi Party when he was removed from his posts in 1934 and his works banned from public performance. While hidden from the authorities, Raphael was able to continue to compose, regaining in part his former prominence in West Germany after the end of World War II.

This concert will feature three of Raphael's unaccompanied viola sonatas as well as works by composers Gilad Hochman, and Anthony Green, performed by accomplished violist, Gregory K. Williams.

Dr. Williams is the Principal Violist of the Berkshire Opera Festival, and Assistant Principal Violist of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra. He has performed thought the United States and in the Netherlands, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Dr. Williams is on the viola faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and also serves on the faculty of the Mountain Springs Chamber Music Festival in Draper, Utah. He has been part of the string faculties of Saint Francis Preparatory School, P.S. 115 (Queens), Kellenberg Memorial High School, the Ross School, and at the NYSSSA School of Orchestral Studies in Saratoga Springs.

Stargazing (weather permitting) will follow the concert.

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

  November 2019

November 9


It is the time of year when people are thinking about holiday gifts for others or for themselves. Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will provide insights as to what you need to know and understand before buying your first telescope. He will discuss what they cost, the different types of telescopes, where and how you store them and how you would transport them. There will be time for questions and answers at the end of the presentation. Whether your budget is small or large, there is a telescope out there for everyone!

After the session, if the weather is good, Ed will open the ASLI dome on the grounds of Custer Observatory and turn the 14” Meade telescope on the wonders of the sky, selecting showcase targets for your enjoyment. Weather permitting, Custer Observatory staff will also give tours of the night sky through the Zerochromat telescope in the main observatory dome and other powerful telescopes on site. Feel free to bring your own binoculars or telescope, if you have one, to look through after the presentation. Or just enjoy the view from ours!

  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.