Understanding ASCOM Alpaca and Classic ASCOM

NOTE: Alpaca is 100% independent of Windows. Nowhere in the Alpaca ecosystem is Windows (or COM) needed. Please look over About Alpaca and ASCOM for an overview and to clarify confusion.

ASCOM has undergone a rapid transformation from Windows-only to a universal technology. Classic ASCOM has been a fundamental cornerstone of astronomy innovation on the Windows platform. Now we have ASCOM Alpaca, a new way to accomplish the same things but via network connectivity and on any platform, even embedded controllers. Both Alpaca and Classic ASCOM seamlessly operate in the background of many of the products you are currently using. Both provide the same universal language so that any astronomy app/program can connect to any astronomy device which complies with the ASCOM standards. ASCOM has become essential through simplification and standardization. Without ASCOM we would not have seen the explosive growth and innovation we have experienced in the field over the last 20 years.The graphic below shows how our group, ASCOM itself, and both ASCOM Alpaca and Classic ASCOM COM relate. To see how this has been possible, and how it started, see About Alpaca and ASCOM.

If you want more info on why ASCOM was created and how ASCOM (Alpaca and COM) works, see the About Alpaca and ASCOM section. It tells the story in pictures. Otherwise proceed to the section that addresses the reason you came here, in the orange menu on the left.

Platform 6.5SP1

Prerequisite! .NET 3.5 activation required. Click here for easy directions.

Download Platform

Platform 6.5SP1 Release Notes
Platform 6.5 Help (online)

This will install the Platform on a new PC, and it will also upgrade older Platform versions.

Drivers & Plug-ins

Download Drivers

Download and install the driver(s) for your astronomy instruments and devices. You'll also find plug-ins for TheSky and other useful tools and components here for download.