The Kopernik Observatory and Science Center in Vestal is about to celebrate 40 years of star-gazing and education.

Speaking on the weekly local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up, on August 30, Kopernik Executive Director Drew Deskur talks about how the observatory on Underwood Road got its start and how it has expanded over the past several decades.

A gala to celebrate is being held September 13 and the keynote speaker is Col. Doug Wheelock from Windsor who has not only flown several missions on the International Space Station but also commanded the vehicle.

Deskur says organizers of the gala need to have reservations in by the beginning of September to be able to order enough food from the caterer.

Information about the gala, observatory programs and email notifications can be found at www.kopernik.org or by calling (607) 748-3685.

Southern Tier Close Up airs Saturdays at 12:10 p.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF.