The ASTRO.control system provides a platform for development of specific astronomical telescope and instrument control systems. For telescopes of 1 meter aperture and above and their respective instrumentation astronomical institutes and observatories frequently are going to develop to their proprietary control systems, which is intensive in terms of time and cost.
With the ASTRO.control product there is now a platform readily available for this purpose. It includes the following components:
- robust computer hardware based on industrial PCs and coming in various form factors (e.g. for DIN rail mounting, 19 " racks, direct device mounting),
- a Linux distribution optimized for embedded control tasks and with enhanced real-time capabilities,
- drivers for a rich set of devices like cameras, filter wheels or focusers from various vendors, plus a framework for integration of application specific device drivers,
- infrastructure and framework software to serve as founddation for the control application, written in C++ for highest performance,
- application modules, e.g. for image acquisition, calibration, or FITS file storage,
- the INDI protocol for communication with operator workstations, as well as the capablity for inter controller communication.
Control of high-end cameras of vendors Andor Technology, Raptor Photonics and Finger Lake Instrumentation is available out of the box. From manufacturer side software for these cameras is mostly Windows based, while ASTRO.control enables their usage on Llinux based control systems.
For operator workstations an interface library, widget toolkit and GUI framework, as well as a generic GUI are available to build specific user interfaces. The GUI software is platform independent and runs on Windows, Linux, MacOS and Android systems.
On the foundation of these platform components specific control systems for e.g. telescopes, imaging,, spectrograph, interferometer or adaptive optics applications can be built fast and efficiently.
Or course we do not leave customers alone with the platform, but on demand provide support and services, e.g. for integration of specific devices, implementation of control application modules, migration to a different communication protocol or integration of the ASTRO.control system into the specific environment of an observatory.
More information can be found on www.astrocontrol.de.