Can Remote Observing be Good Observing? Reflections on Procrustes and Antaeus
Remote observing seeks to simulate the presence of the astronomer at the telescope. While this is useful, and necessary in some circumstances, simulation is not reality. The drive to abstract the astronomer from the instrument can have unpleasant consequences, some of which are prefigured in the ancient tales of Procrustes and Antaeus. This article, written in 1992 for a conference proceedings on remote observing, is reprinted here with only slight editorial changes and the addition of a short Afterword. I consider some of the human factors involved in remote observing, and suggest that our aim be to enhance rather than supplant the astronomer at the telescope.