Sierra Vista's Best Kept Secret!
The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to head to space on December 22, 2021. With it, astronomers hope to find the first galaxies to form in the universe, will search for Earthlike atmospheres around other planets and accomplish many other scientific goals.
See the video section below to take a virtual tour of the Patterson Observatory. The interactive website lets you roam the building at your leisure. Many interesting displays are highlighted and detailed in this amazing high resolution photogrammetric capture of the facility. If you can’t make it in person, this is the next best thing!
The University South Foundation, Inc. owns and maintains the Patterson Observatory located on University of Arizona Sierra Vista Campus. The Huachuca Astronomy Club (HAC) volunteers operates the observatory and hosts Public Viewing Nights.
These "Public Nights" are free and family friendly and start about a half hour after sunset. They are weather dependent (canceled during inclement weather) and are not scheduled during the monsoon months of July and August. Public Nights are announced in the Around Your Town section of the Sierra Vista Herald, on the HAC website, and on Facebook. The observatory is also available, by appointment, to serve youth, school and community organizations.
The Patterson Observatory is listed as a NASA Space Place and has a 16 foot dome, housing a Ritchey-Chretien telescope of 20” aperture. This telescope, with its sophisticated detectors, is capable of observing objects one million times fainter that the human eye can detect.
The University South Foundation Patterson Observatory opened the 11th of September 2004, and serves the greater Sierra Vista area with public viewings and group reservations.
The Patterson Observatory has been selected to participate in the Arizona Astronomy Consortium https://azastronomy.org/
FREE OBSERVATION NIGHTS
Public Night is held once a month on the Thursday nearest first quarter moon. Observing starts a half hour after sunset. The event is weather dependent and is canceled in the event of clouds or inclement weather. *
2021 - 2022 Schedule
Thursday, November 11, Doors open: 6 PM
Thursday, December 9, Doors open: 6 PM
Thursday, January 6, Doors open: 6 PM
Thursday, February 3, Doors open: 6:30 PM
Thursday, March 10, Doors open: 7 PM
Thursday, April 7, Doors open: 7:30 PM
Thursday, May 5, Doors open: 7:30 PM
Thursday, June 9, Doors open: 8 PM
Click on the RED button below to register.
Public Viewing Night November 11, 2021 is now full. You may register for the December 9th event below.
Admission is free, but space is limited. Guests wishing to attend this in-person event must register and will need a receipt to participate.
This event is weather dependent and if the sky is even partly cloudy visitors should check the recording at (520) 458-8278 x 2214 for a cancelation notice.
Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Call 520 458 8278 extension 2214 for a recorded message about the next Patterson public night and to check for cancelations.”
Leave a Legacy at the Patterson Observatory by purchasing a Star to place on the Comet Wall with your name engraved on the star.
Private Events for your club, group or youth organization can be scheduled by calling the University South Foundation, Inc. office at
520 458 8278 ext. 2129
Videos for your viewing pleasure...
The Patterson Observatory named after Mr. David Patterson
Patterson and his wife, June, were founding members of the Huachuca Astronomy Club and volunteers at the Flandrau Planetarium in Tucson, Arizona.
Patterson was a major contributor to the creation of the observatory, including the purchase of the telescopes, and constructing the building.
His legacy continues to support the observatory and the University South Foundation.
*Disclaimer: “In consideration of my attendance at observing events held at the Patterson Observatory 1140 N. Colombo Avenue, Sierra Vista AZ, I agree to hold harmless the Patterson Observatory, The University South Foundation, Inc., the University of Arizona, South and the Huachuca Astronomy Club of Southeastern Arizona (also known as HAC or the Huachuca Astronomy Club), including their members, officers and sponsors from any claims, liabilities, losses, demands, causes of action, suits and expenses (including attorney fees and costs), which may directly or indirectly be connected to my attendance at the hosted event, my participation at the event, or my presence on the premises of the Patterson Observatory and/or the University of Arizona, Sierra Vista campus. I understand that these events are, by their nature, conducted at night and in environments with low levels of lighting, or no lighting, so as not to interfere with the ability of participants to view objects through various telescopes. Additionally, I understand that I may be required to climb ladders, or stairs, in very low light conditions, or in the absence of light, to properly utilize the telescopes”.