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.

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: 06/27/Two Thousand Twenty

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.

Friday,
July 10

7:30 pm

CUSTER HONEY BEE CLUB MEET.

"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than 4 years to live." - Albert Einstein

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's Honey Bee Club 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!

This meeting will either be held virtually or outdoors (social distancing and facemasks required), dependent on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. If held
virtually, a link to the virtual platform will be emailed to the contact provided during registration.



Saturday,
July 11

Custer BOD Meeting, 4:30.

Saturday,
July 11

8 pm

WHAT'S IN THE SKY THIS MONTH:
Jupiter and Saturn at Opposition & Much More!


Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will take us on a tour of things that can be seen in the sky this month.  He will highlight objects that are visible to the naked eye, requiring no equipment at all, then he will take us deeper into the universe as he points out celestial sights that are visible with the kind of binoculars that many people own and he'll explore celestial wonders that can be seen with a small to medium sized telescope.  Ed will discuss how to find them in the sky, so that after the talk you can try locating them through your own binoculars or telescope.

This month, look for Jupiter and Saturn at opposition.  In 2020,  Jupiter is at opposition on July 14 and less than a week later, Saturn will be at opposition on July 20.  For distant planets like Jupiter and Saturn, this is the best time to view them, since they will be at their closest point to Earth.

This lecture will be held virtually from Custer Observatory.  Admission is FREE; registration required.  A link to access the virtual presentation will be sent to the email provided during registration.  Please consider supporting us by making a donation during check-out.  Donations at any level are greatly appreciated and help us to defray our operating costs.

 

Suggested Donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children Under 12, Members FREE.



Saturday,
July 18

8 pm

MUSIC OF THE SUN AND MARS.


Tonight's concert will present original compositions from Cliff Baldwin in this premier performance! Each piece was composed using astronomical sounds, then modified and layered using electronics. This multi-media performance will be accompanied by a video installation produced by Mr. Baldwin, and held outdoors under the stars (bring a blanket or chair). This will truly be a sensory experience you don't want to miss! Due to the outdoor nature of the concert, there is a rain date scheduled for July 25 at 8:00pm.

Music Program:

  • ASTRI Music and images from the Solar Dynamic Observatory.
  • SOL BLUSTER The blowing winds on Mars.
  • LIGO Gravitational waves and the sounds they form.

Cliff Baldwin is a composer, sculptor and filmmaker. He lives and works in Aquebogue, New York.

Cliff is the founder of the Aquebogue Contemporary Music Ensemble [ACME], a group devoted to contemporary electronic music, who was featured in the Rites of Spring Music Festival from 2016-2019 on the North Fork of Long Island. Some of his compositions include "The Kepler Music" which was performed at Custer Observatory during the first series of The Rites Music Festival in 2016 and "Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis, the Music of the Zodiac" which was performed in the 2019 Festival series.

As an artist, Cliff founded the large format artist publication AQUI! in the early nineteen eighties working with artists like Barbara Kruger, Gilbert & George, Les Levine and General Idea. For 17 years he orchestrated large scale installations and created multiples with Fluxus artist Davi Det Hompson as the artist duo Baldwin+Hompson.

Cliff's work has been exhibited in Tokyo, Cologne, Berlin, Mexico City, Los Angeles, and New York, and is in serveral major museum collections around the world including collections at the The Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, The Museum of The Art Institute of Chicago, The National Gallery of Canada and The Museum of Rhode Island School of Design.

His giant urban video installation "I Love Richmond and Richmond Loves Me" premiered at Richmond’s InLight Festival in 2010. He created "The Language of Light", a live urban projection exhibited at InLight Festival/Richmond in 2012 and performed it at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY in 2015. His pavillion, House of FUBB was shown at The Center for New Art at William Paterson College in 2017 along with his suite The Kepler Music.

Stargazing (weather permitting) through Custer Observatory's telescopes and guided by expert staff will follow the concert.

Adults $20, Observatory Members $15, Children Under 16 FREE..



Saturday,
Aug 8

Custer BOD Meeting, 4:30.

Saturday,
Aug 8

8 pm

WHAT'S IN THE SKY THIS MONTH:
The Perseid Meteor Shower & Much More!


Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will take us on a tour of things that can be seen in the sky this month. He will highlight objects that are visible to the naked eye, requiring no equipment at all, then he will take us deeper into the universe as he points out celestial sights that are visible with the kind of binoculars that many people own and he'll explore celestial wonders that can be seen with a small to medium sized telescope. Ed will discuss how to find them in the sky, so that after the talk you can try locating them through your own binoculars or telescope or you can just enjoy the view through ours!

This month, look up to catch a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor shower. The Perseids is one of the most popular meteor showers of the year, peaking in the warm summer nights of August and can be viewed with the naked eye. This year, shooting stars should be visible in the nights and early mornings of August 11, 12 and 13, with the shower’s peak occurring in the predawn hours of August 12. Meteors will be visible across the sky, and if you trace their path, they appear to be radiating from the constellation Perseus.

After the session, if the weather is good, he will open the ASLI dome on the grounds of Custer Observatory and turn the 14” Meade LX200 telescope on some of the objects discussed and will be available to answer questions. Custer Observatory staff will also give tours of night sky objects through the Zerochromat telescope in the main Observatory dome and other powerful telescopes on site. Feel free to bring your own binoculars or telescope to look through after the presentation. Or just enjoy the view from ours!  

Suggested Donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children Under 12, Members FREE.



Saturday,
Sept 12

Custer BOD Meeting, 4:30.

Saturday,
Sept 26

7 pm


International Observe the Moon Night


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, Ed will open the 14” ASLI dome on the Custer Observatory grounds and focus it on the Moon for all to see. The main Observatory dome and other telescopes on site will also be open for viewing and guided by Observatory staff.


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 facilites at Custer Observatory. Come join us!

Admission: FREE. Donations may be given upon registration or at time of the event and are greatly appreciated..



Saturday,
Oct 10

Custer BOD Meeting, 4:30.

Saturday,
Oct 10

7 pm

WHAT'S IN THE SKY THIS MONTH:
Mars at Opposition & Much More!


Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, will take us on a tour of things that can be seen in the sky this month. He will highlight objects that are visible to the naked eye, requiring no equipment at all, then he will take us deeper into the universe as he points out celestial sights that are visible with the kind of binoculars that many people own and he'll explore celestial wonders that can be seen with a small to medium sized telescope. Ed will discuss how to find them in the sky, so that after the talk you can try locating them through your own binoculars or telescope or you can just enjoy the view through ours!

This month, look for Mars at opposition. While Jupiter and Saturn appear brightest in the sky near opposition, Mars, a much closer planet, brightens even more dramatically when it is on the opposite side of Earth from the sun. Mars only reaches opposition with Earth about every two years, and viewing conditions for the Red Planet this October are slated to be spectacular! For most of the month of October, the light of Mars will grow brighter than even Jupiter, which is generally the second brightest planet in the sky. The brightness of Mars will peak on October 13 when the planet reaches opposition.

After the session, if the weather is good, he will open the ASLI dome on the grounds of Custer Observatory and turn the 14”  Meade LX200 telescope on some of the objects discussed and will be available to answer questions.  Custer Observatory staff will also give tours of night sky objects through the Zerochromat telescope in the main Observatory dome and other powerful telescopes on site.  Feel free to bring your own binoculars or telescope to look through after the presentation. Or just enjoy the view from ours! 

Suggested Donation: $5 Adults, $3 Children Under 12, Members FREE.



Saturday,
Nov 14

Custer BOD Meeting, 4:30.


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.