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!

Our Values

Quality: Astrometric Instruments will produce high quality products and be renowned in the market place for quality.

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.

Our History

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 system.

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 SkyWalker-Servo system).

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.

Our Future

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!

Copyright © 2002 Astrometric Instruments, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Web site created by Roth Ritter and Chris Houghton.