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Planetariums, observatories and astronomy on Long Island

Space is, indeed, the final frontier, and it's

Space is, indeed, the final frontier, and it's fun to explore at the Custer Institute & Observatory in Southold. Photo Credit: John Ward

In the mood for a little stargazing? Grab a blanket, head to the beach and look up at the night sky. But for a more intimate view, visit one of Long Island’s many observatories and take in an astronomy lecture. Here are the best places on the Island to learn about and observe the night sky. 
 
AMATEUR OBSERVERS’ SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, aosny.org, astronomy-themed public meeting each first Sun. of the month from Oct.-June at Hofstra University, Berliner Hall, Chemistry/Physics Building, Building 61, room 117, on California Avenue, two blocks south of Hempstead Turnpike. Dates 1:15 p.m. Oct. 7, Nov. 4, Dec. 2, Jan. 6, Feb. 3, March 3, April 7, May 5, June 2. Group conducts stargazing at Hofstra University after meetings (Oct.-Dec., Feb.-April, 8 p.m.), various dates at the Nature Center at Jones Beach State Park, west end, and Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, and clear Saturday nights at the Susan Rose Observatory in Southold on the grounds of the Custer Institute.  All stargazing is weather permitting. Astronomy Day in April at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
 
CUSTER OBSERVATORY
, 1115 Main Bayview Rd., Southold, 631-765-2626, custerobservatory.org, open to the public every Saturday from dusk to midnight. The oldest observatory on Long Island, Custer also offers a series of astronomy-themed lectures. Check website for events and dates. Fee $5 suggested donation, $3 younger than 14. 
 
HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY OBSERVATORY, Herman A. Berliner Hall, the Chemistry and Physics Building, fourth floor, California Avenue and Huntington Place, Uniondale, hofstra.edu/astronomy. Stars on Sunday is open to the public 6-8 p.m. once a month, check website for dates. Fee Free, but a reservation is required and can be made on the website.


MONTAUK OBSERVATORY, 20 Goodfriend Dr., East Hampton, on the campus of The Ross School, montaukobservatory.com. Check website for viewing dates and access, as well as lectures and special events. Fee Free, donations appreciated.
 
MOUNT STONY BROOK OBSERVATORY AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY,
Room 001, ESS Building, 100 Nicolls Rd., Stony Brook, 631-632-9464, 
nwsdy.li/sunysbastro. The observatory is a 14-inch roof-top telescope used for research and teaching. Astronomy open nights start at 7:30 every Friday with a lecture, followed by observing (weather permitting). No event the day after Thanksgiving. Programs offered Sept.-Dec. and Feb.-May. Check website for possible Jan. events. 


THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATURE CENTER AT JONES BEACH, Jones Beach State Park, 516-780-3295, nwsdy.li/trobserve. Viewing once a month, Sept.-June. Hosted by the Amateur Observers’ Society of New York, check aosny.org for updated observatory schedule. Program starts around dusk and includes a discussion beforehand, followed by stargazing. Fee $4, reservations required.
 
VANDERBILT MUSEUM AND PLANETARIUM, 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport, 631-854-5579, vanderbiltmuseum.org. Fee Admission $8 adults, $7 students with ID and seniors (62 plus), $5 children 12 and younger; free year-round observatory viewing on Friday nights 9-10 p.m. (weather permitting). 

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