About Astrometric Instruments
Astrometric Instruments is a provider of premier Telescope Control
Systems. We have been designing and manufacturing custom telescope
control systems since 1990. Our initial involvement in telescope control
system design stemmed from a strong interest in astronomy and telescope
making. We enjoy what we do and plan to continue for years to come!
Quality: Astrometric Instruments
will produce high quality products and be renowned in the market place
Innovation will be "sensibly"
applied in all our designs; not simply for the sake of innovation
but rather for the end result of value to the customer.
Functionality will be second to
none; however, we will provide customers with first-class systems
that accomplish what they want and need and avoid a "hodge podge"
of disjoint offerings that are non-interoperable.
Customer satisfaction: We will be
accessible to our customers. Our support staff will be knowledgeable
and responsive to customer needs.
We started working on early telescope control system designs in 1989
using a 16" Cassegrain reflector and Celestron fork-mounted C11
as test beds. Our first working system was put into use in the Spring
of 1990. These earliest designs provided only basic telescope control
functionality (e.g. tracking, slewing, paning, GoTo and object database)
since we were concentrating on stand-alone systems using embedded
microcontrollers. These were valuable "learning experiences"
and provided us good perspective on what the ultimate telescope control
system design should embody.
We soon learned that to provide advanced telescope control system
features (such as a sophisticated "pointing model"), we
needed more "computes". Therefore, in 1993, we re-architected
our basic system design to use a PC as the control computer. The PCs
of 1993 provided minimal computational power;, however, our system
capabilities and complexity were evolving with the rapid increase
in PC capability. And so was born our SkyGuide Telescope Control System
software. This first
version of SkyGuide-PC was Microsoft DOS based (remember that operating
system?) and as such "took over" the whole machine.
With a capable software package to provide full telescope system control,
we turned our sights to a fresh look at our control system hardware.
SkyWalker1 was born and in 1995, we opened for business in Massachusetts
under the name Apogee Instruments and began selling product (SkyWalker1
with SkyGuide-PC for DOS) targeted to custom telescope mount installations:
. Several equatorial and Alt/Az instruments adopted this successful
Around this time we started work on "porting" SkyGuide-PC
to run under windows in a manner that did not "take over"
the whole machine (as no well behaved windows program should). This
was a significant effort since control system software needs to provide
"guaranteed latency" in servicing control system hardware.
Therefore, it took us several years to port to Windows and in 1997
we introduced our SkyGuide for Windows Telescope Control System software.
SkyGuide embodies the bulk of our whole telescope control system functionality.
With Windows support and our system for custom telescope mounts in
place, we turned our attention to developing a telescope control system
for popular commercial telescope mounts. We needed a telescope controller
that was compact and "integrated" (i.e. no separate motor
drivers with associated extra cabling). We accomplished this with
our SkyWalker2 design. SkyWalker2 controlled two high performance
(micro-stepped) stepper motors and various telescope peripherals.
We also developed two retrofit kits: one for the Losmandy G-11/GM-8
mounts and one for the Celestron CI700 mounts. These products were
released in 1999 and sold through 2001 (presently replaced with our
Also in (early) 1999, we decided to reincorporate under the name Astrometric
Instruments, Inc. to avoid confusion with the Apogee Instruments,
Inc. that was already advertising nationally offering CCD cameras.
In 2000/2001, while continuing to ship SkyWalker1 and SkyWalker2 systems,
we worked on developing two new products. Believing that we must always
be improving our product, we developed our advanced SkyWalker-Servo
telescope control system for commercial mounts (replaces SkyWalker2)
and our SkyWalker1i
"fully integrated" servomotor-based control system for custom
mounts. These represent our 3rd generation control systems and embody
numerous customer suggestions and improvements born from years of
designing, producing, using and selling systems.
We expect to continue producing quality product, providing excellent
customer service and advancing the state of the art in the astronomy
equipment marketplace for years to come. Individually, we very much
enjoy providing quality product and service and will continue to do
what we enjoy!