The main purpose of the observatory is education. Union College students benefit from hands-on experience with current high-tech instrumentation. A lab course in which students make professional type observations is offered regularly. The observatory is used for senior theses, summer research, astronomy practicum and independent projects. For example, students have used the telescope to study cataclysmic variable stars, exoplanets, and asteroids.

During 2019 students have submitted follow-up observations to NASA's TESS mission to confirm exoplanet candidates. During Fall 2019, observations made in Prof. Wilkin's Ast 230 Observational Astronomy course of three asteroids were used in a paper submitted for publication in the Minor Planet Bulletin (June 2022). Observations made of asteroid Herberta by Prof. Wilkin's team of research scholars were submitted for publication in June 2022. Data from Ast 230 Observational Astronomy for several novas and cataclysmic variables were submitted to the CBA (Center for Backyard Astrophysics), resulting in a publication with student co-author in the the Astrophysical Journal Letters (Dec 1 2022).