An Introduction to 10Micron and their Mounts
10Micron are a part (a division) of an Italian high precision engineering company, called COMEC Technology who are based just outside the city of Milan. COMEC Technology was founded by the Mariotti brothers, who inherited a love of mechanics and engineering from their father, and grew the company from just a small mechanical workshop in 1960. The company was involved in the production, design and construction of specialist machinery and equipment in commercial sectors such as glass, food and gold jewellery production.
Their experience over the decades with engineering, electronics and I.T. innovation, saw the company diversify into the fields of science, and especially astronomy, and led to 10Micron being born. The 10Micron division specialises in the design, development and production of high quality, professional level astronomical mounts with new and innovative features. These mounts can be found both in the hands of advanced amateur astronomers as well as in professional research institutes and observatories around the world. David Hinds Ltd are proud to supply/distribute 10Micron mounts and products here in the UK.
Above: Part of the 10Micron factory testing area and laboratories. In this area tests are performed on the electronic and mechanical parts in order to verify that each delivered mount has passed their high quality control tests.
Currently, 10Micron offer a range of four high quality precision German equatorial mounts that feature their High Precision and Slew (HPS) technology for astronomical imaging and/or research purposes. These "HPS-equipped" mounts feature two proprietary high-precision absolute encoders that are directly mounted on both the RA and DEC axis which results in a High Precision of pointing and tracking accuracy. High performance quality servo motors and drivers give the mounts' their high Speed performance. These proprietary encoders, combined with built-in software mount modelling, provide very impressive high precision GoTo pointing (typically to within 20 arc secs or less) and tracking accuracy (<1 arcsec).
The image below shows the four German equatorial mounts from 10Micron that are available currently. We will talk more about each of the mounts, and the technologies used in them, in later posts.
The 10 Micron German equatorial mount range currently consists of the following (please click on the links to the products on our website for more information):
- GM1000 HPS : this is the smallest and lightest of the 10Micron mounts. It is the ideal mount for those wanting a high quality portable high precision mount for astrophotography for payloads up to 25kg.
- GM2000 HPS II: This model is available in 2 versions. A single monolithic version (GM2000 HPS II Monolith) and an Ultraportable version (GM2000 HPS II Ultraport). Both mounts can carry 50kg of telescope and accessory payload. The mount is still transportable but for those wanting a more portable version, for travel/field use, the Ultraport model can be split into two components making for easier carrying and transport.
- GM3000 HPS : with a mount head weight of 65kg this is for permanent observatory use. The GM3000 can carry up to 100kg of payload.
- GM4000 HPS II : As with the GM3000 model, the GM4000 is really for use in a permanent observatory set up with its head weighing 125kg. The GM4000 can carry 150kg of telescope(s) and accessories.
Each of the 10Micron mounts comes with an illuminated 4-line handset and a control box that contains all the necessary software needed to operate the mount, as well as mount modelling software and astronomical databases, meaning an external PC is not necessarily required. As mentioned earlier, we will look at these components in more detail in a later blog.
Top: 10Micron illuminated handset ; bottom: Control box for the mount.
There are four HPS Alt-Azimuth mounts, based on their GM1000-4000 German equatorial counterparts, that are also available from 10Micron. These mounts are mainly used for scientific activities such as satellite and satellite debris tracking, photometric/astrometric measurements and LiDaR (Light Detection and Ranging) laser applications. You can see a selection here (AZ2000 HPS; AZ4000).
The image above shows two telescopes attached to an Alt-AZ dual telescope option of a 10Micron AZ4000 mount. The mount can carry a payload of 100kg+150kg.
Over the last few years, 10Micron have been developing a professional observatory-grade Alt-Az mounts capable of carrying up to 1-metre/40" aperture telescopes. Their AZ5000 and AZ8000 mounts include features such as on-axis high resolution absolute encoders for high precision slewing and tracking; direct drive high torque motors with very fast pointing speed up to 30°/sec, suitable for satellite tracking or minimising the slewing time between object-to-object; Nasmyth focus (option) with integrated interface with electronic focuser and derotator control..and much more.
Above: A 10Micron AZ5000 Direct Drive System (DDS) Alt-Az mount with a Planewave CDK24 in situ.
In future posts we will look at the 10Micron range of mounts in more detail, as well as the technology that 10Micron have developed, and are used, in them. Watch this space!