Do you want to do real astronomy from the comfort of your home? Want to take photographs of the Magellanic Clouds without spending $1,000 on a plane ticket to the Southern Hemisphere? Want the power of a big telescope at a serious observatory without the cost and headaches? Want to image a comet that's only near Earth for a few days, but it's forecast to be cloudy all week?
If you answered yes to any of the questions, a remote observatory that can be rented by the hour and accessed over the internet might be the answer. In the March 2010 issue of Sky & Telescope, California astro-imager Andy Macica explains how these work, and compares the features offered by four of the most popular alternatives. This issue is no longer available on newsstands, so we've made the article available as a free download. Click here to download the 4.6-Mb PDF.