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Sierra Vista's Best Kept Secret!

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



Public Night is held once a month on the Thursday nearest first quarter moon.  It is free and open to the public.   Observing starts a half hour after sunset.  The event is weather dependent and is canceled in the event of clouds or inclement weather. *


2021 Schedule

Thursday, June 17, Doors open: 7:30 PM


Participate via Zoom ID 828 4271 0375

Thursday, September 9, Doors open:  7 PM
Thursday, October 14, Doors open:  6:30 PM
Thursday, November 11, Doors open: 6 PM
Thursday, December 9, Doors open:  6 PM

ZOOM and Facebook participation will also be available. Click on the RED button above to register.



Public Viewing Night June 17, 2021 -
Registration is Closed
Participate via Zoom ID 828 4271 0375
Admission is free, but space is limited.  Guests wishing to attend this in-person event must register and will need a receipt to participate.
Masks will be required at all times when inside the observatory and should be worn outside if you are unvaccinated for COVID.
If you think you may have been recently exposed to COVID, please do not attend. Anyone presenting any COVID like symptoms or having elevated temperature will be required to leave.
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. 

This event will be available virtually over Zoom as well. The meeting ID is 828 4271 0375.  For questions or for more information email:  Please allow at least 24 hours for a response.

“Call 520 458 8278 extension 2214 for a recorded message about the next Patterson public night and to check for cancellations.”

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Leave a Legacy at the Patterson Observatory by purchasing a Star to place on the Comet Wall with your name engraved on the star.

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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 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.

Patterson and his wife, June, were founding members of the Huachuca Astronomy Club and volunteers at the Flandrau Planetarium in Tucson, Arizona.

*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”.