The Patterson Observatory is owned and maintained by the University South Foundation, Inc. and operated by volunteers from the Huachuca Astronomy Club.
The Patterson Observatory, now a NASA Space Place, 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 than the human eye can detect. The observatory hosts a free public viewing once each month. 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 in the Arizona Sky Events calendar that appears in every issue of the HAC Nightfall newsletter. The observatory is also available, by appointment, to serve youth, school and community organizations. HAC volunteers will operate the telescope for these special events that may be scheduled by calling the foundation office at (520) 458-8278 ext. 2132
The University South Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity, supports the University of Arizona South in its efforts to provide higher education opportunities to residents throughout Southern Arizona. The Foundation provides monetary awards to faculty and staff members, scholarships to UA South students, as well other community outreach on behalf of the Foundation and the University.
The Patterson Observatory is funded entirely by private donations made at the observatory or to the University South Foundation, Inc.