Whether you’re a professional or an amateur astronomer, there are schemes available to give you time on a larger than you’d normally use telescope by remote control over the net.
For the amateur observer, as part of Global Astronomy Month the Virtual Telescope offers 30 minutes of free observing time to the first five people in a given country who applies (this may be doubled for countries in which high numbers of requests are forthcoming). The time may be redeemed day or night (ie, you can do solar observing) on or before the 30th of April and you’ll have a professional on the other end giving you help and advice throughout the half hour session (and training in using the thing before hand). Click here for more details.
For professionals, much the same thing but on a grander scale. The Herschel Infrared Space Telescope has issued an Open Call for observing proposals with up to a year’s observing time at stake. The ESA telescope will be the subject of a workshop in May at the ESTECH facility. There, the results and capabilities will be looked at in depth using the science performed by astronomers linked to the project, which should aid other astronomers craft their proposals. Deadline for the Open Time Call is the 21st of July. More on Herschel’s twitter account. This new telescope is now open for business.