Meade | MAX-ACF | Performance: Optical Design: Strength: Buzz:

Performance: Optical Design: Strength: Buzz:
Absolute state-of-the art system. Hands down.
Optical Design:
Advanced Coma-Free.
Unparalleled crisp, flatter field of view. Observatory quality
optics. Remote access via web or network. Fully-integrated
turn-key system.
Sky & Telescope calls the 20” MAX-ACF “the most
electronically sophisticated mass-market telescope
ever made.”
OBSERVATORY CLASS. For the pro in all of us.
20” MAX-ACF™
A dva n ced C O M A - F R E E
A. B. G. P.
e. F. I. L. T.
J. K.
Carbon fiber tube
“The 20” MAX-ACF does indeed
perform like a Ritchey-Chrétien.
The difference between the
off-axis images (compared to a
Schmidt-Cassegrain) was
dramatic to say the least.”
“Out of the box the scope had the
most responsive declination guiding
that I have ever experienced with a
mass-market telescope.”
“The scope is a quantum leap above
conventional Schmidt-Cassegrains.
It approaches the performance
of telescopes that cost five or
six times as much.”
— Sky & Telescope magazine
— Jason Ware, Astrophotographer
— Sky & Telescope magazine
Imagine you’re a seasoned astrophotographer saving up for the fast f-ratio, wide-field, comafree, custom telescope of a lifetime. One that can handle the largest CCD chips. One with stateof-the-art optics and mechanics. One that is praised as “approaching perfection” by industry
critics and astronomers alike. Suddenly you find out your telescope is available for one-fifth
of what you thought—and you won’t have to wait six months for it to be built. What would you
do? You’d buy one.
Sky & Telescope Magazine says the 20” MAX-ACF “fills a significant gap that existed between similar
aperture Schmidt-Cassegrains and custom-made Ritchey-Chrétien reflectors.” Until now, the
only systems comparable to the 20” MAX-ACF were custom-made and had to be pieced together with
components from different vendors. To deliver a comparable research-grade system, fully integrated,
out-of-the-box, would be a grand achievement at half the price. At less than one-third of the price,
it’s a miracle. That explains why the 20” MAX-ACF won a 2005 “Best of What’s New Award” from Popular
Science Magazine.
Sky & Telescope’s glowing review ended with this thought: “Some hobbyists mistakenly believe
that a product review without equal doses of praise and criticism is biased or unbalanced. Truth is,
I can’t find many negative things to say about the 20” MAX-ACF…the 20” MAX-ACF is a winner.”
Pat e n t-P e n di ng ( f /8) A dva nc e d C om a-Fr e e op t ic s .
Astrophotographer Jason Ware says “the
20” MAX-ACF is a huge jump [over the Schmidt-Cassegrain] as far as sharpness of image, flatness of field, and color.” The fast
(f/8) Advanced Coma-Free design produces a large, coma-free field of view from edge-to-edge. The corrector plate reduces
astigmatism inherent in the traditional RC design.
Legendary Diffraction-limited optics.
Only Meade individually figures their Water White glass
corrector lenses and Pyrex® primary and secondary mirrors in our own plant in Mexico for observatory-class light transmission,
temperature stability, smoothness and image correction. Advanced Coma-Free Optics are Meade’s very best. And our optics lead
the industry.
L a s e r-A l ign e d, Fi x e d O v e r s i z e d P r i m a ry M i r ror .
Laser aligned to the true optical path, then
bonded in place, the mirror is fixed but literally floats on neoprene rubber seals. This results in zero stress to the glass and no
distortion to the optics.
E l e c t ron ic Fron t Fo c u s i ng Sy s t e m .
Patent-pending digital system electronically moves the entire
front cell (corrector lens and secondary) in precise increments as fine as 1/1000 of a millimeter. A fixed primary means no
image shift or focus backlash. Sky & Telescope says, “I’ve never used an electric focusing system that I liked more.”
N i n e Fo c u s Po s i t ion P r e s e t s .
Customize up to nine perfect focus settings for moving from eyepiece to
eyepiece, camera to camera, or observer to observer. Recall preset positions with the touch of a few buttons.
E l e c t ron ic C ol l i m at ion . The very best astrophotographs come from well-collimated (aligned) optics.
The 20” MAX-ACF’s unique collimation process is so easy that you can collimate in just seconds with simple up-down/leftright buttons on the AutoStar® II controller.
Bu i lt-I n A n t i-D e w H e at e r . A unique heating coil is affixed to the outside edge of the corrector lens.
Temperature is adjusted via the AutoStar II controller. Uses a fraction of the energy of aftermarket anti-dew heaters.
Sky & Telescope says it “worked exceptionally well.”
Son y ® GPS R e c e i v e r Se n s or .
Automatically inputs exact time, date, and geographical location to help quickly
and precisely align your telescope. Gets a satellite fix in seconds despite obstructions like trees or buildings.
Au toA l ign ™ .
Automatically aligns your scope to the night sky. Sky & Telescope says, “Working with the 20” MAX-ACF
was a very pleasant out-of-the-box experience. In a perfect world all products would be like this...”
Sm a rt D r i v e ™ .
Provides Permanent Periodic Error Correction (PPEC) on both axes over the course of one or more
training periods, thereby minimizing guiding corrections during long-exposure astrophotography.
Smart Mount ™ .
Constantly refines pointing accuracy each time an object is centered and updated. Works in equatorial
or altazimuth alignment. An indispensable feature for permanent installations.
AutoStar® II controller.
AutoStar on steroids. Features “Hot Keys” for quick access to over 180,000 celestial objects.
Operate 20” MAX-ACF features like Electronic Focusing and Collimation, Anti-Dew Heater, Smart Drive and Smart Mount.
Download software updates, guided tours, and timely objects like comets and new discoveries free at
M A X MOU N T Tr i p od.
C om p u t e r- O p t i m i z e d Ba f f l i ng.
Baffles on the primary and secondary mirror are computer-optimized to
provide high contrast images by preventing stray light rays from reaching the focal plane.
C a r bon Fi b e r a n d K e v l a r O p t ic a l Tu b e .
This uniquely strong, yet light-weight material has thermal
characteristics ideal for astrophotography. The tube resists expansion and contraction as temperature rises and falls. So 20”
MAX-ACF optics stay in focus even during the longest exposures.
U H TC .™
Our exotic optical coatings optimize light transmission. Image brightness is increased by 15% over standard coatings.
It’s like adding up to an extra inch of aperture (depending on scope size). Objects appear dramatically brighter.
Mu lt i-Port C on t rol Pa n e l s .
The first telescope to feature a powered, three port high speed USB 2.0 hub.
Separate control panels are positioned on both the drive base and rear cell of the OTA, so you can plug equipment like the
AutoStar® II and the Deep Sky Imager ™ directly into the OTA control panel to avoid cord wrap and tangle.
Se r i e s 5 0 0 0 ™ 2" Ult r a Wi de A ngl e Ey e p i e c e .
24mm eyepiece gives you the ultimate in eyepiece
design. It delivers extremely high-resolution, contrast and sharpness all the way across an astounding 82˚ apparent field of
view. Several different types of exotic glass are combined to give you the highest possible level of optical performance.
Au to Sta r Su i t e ™ Sof t wa r e .
Easy-to-use planetarium software allows you to see what’s in the sky tonight.
Plan observing sessions, print star charts, take astrophotographs or control your telescope from your PC (windows only).
R e mot e C on t rol Ac c e s s .
The Enhanced 20” MAX-ACF AutoStar Suite lets you come in from the cold and operate
your telescope. You can set-up, control, and image like the pros from the comfort of your home office or even across country
via the web.
20” MAX-ACF ™ highlights
A. The remote control observatory. Control
your telescope from the comfort of your home,
office, or even out-of-town with Meade’s
completely integrated AutoStar ® II and
20” MAX-ACF software systems. Access the
computer that controls your telescope via
network or Web access. Work like the pros,
imaging whenever the weather, your schedule,
and the universe align. With a 20” MAXACF, you have your own remotely controlled
observatory. Just set-up, connect, control,
and image. AutoStar II makes it easy.
On axis
f/8 20”
f/8 SchmidtCassegrain
B. Perfect star images edge-to-edge.
. 25 off axis
.175 off axis
. 25 off axis
This professional level of off-axis
performance was previously unavailable
without spending more than three times
the cost of an 20” MAX-ACF.
.175 off axis
A success story fresh off the drawing board.
On March 26, 2002, Meade engineers set out to design a telescope with the
most sophisticated optics, mechanics and electronics ever manufactured.
If successful, the new scope would make observatory-level performance
accessible to any serious astronomer or astrophotographer who desired it.
Th e 20 06 20” M A X-ACF r e v i e w i n Sk y & Tele scope m aga zi n e sa i d, “M ea de
cl a i m ed t h at on e of i ts goa l s i n de v el opi ng t h e 20” M A X-ACF was to
a ddr e ss va r ious problems… t h at h a d dogged Sch m i dt- Casse gr a i ns
for mor e t h a n 3 0 y ea rs. My f eeli ng is t h at t h e com pa n y r ea lly h as
succeeded. Ev e n w h e n you j u dge i t by t h e dem a n di ng cr i t er i a i m posed
by l ong-ex posu r e i m agi ng, t h e 20” M A X-ACF is a w i n n er.”
Thinking beyond the Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Like NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, almost every professional observatory reflector in the world today
uses a Coma-Free optical system. So it’s no surprise that Meade engineers chose their Advanced Coma-Free
design as the ideal optical configuration. This design improves on the traditional Ritchey-Chrétien design
by adding a corrector lens to reduce astigmatism and diffraction spikes. Then Meade engineers designed the
20” MAX-ACF’s mechanical and electronic systems from a clean slate (and thousands of amateur astronomer
suggestions) to ensure it would become the most capable telescope in company history.
For serious research or fast , flatter, wide-field fun.
Recognizing the growing popularity of astrophotography, Meade chose a fast (f/8) focal ratio for the 20”
MAX-ACF. This offers astrophotographers optimal speed in combination with a large, coma-free field of view
(from edge-to-edge). Despite all of its visual and technical prowess, a 20” MAX-ACF is just plain fun. Sky
& Telescope says, “One aspect of the 20” MAX-ACF that repeatedly amazed me [was] ease of use. Working
with the 20” MAX-ACF was a very pleasant out-of-the box experience. In a perfect world all products would
be like this…”
Observatory-precise pointing and tracking.
The 20” MAX-ACF’s mechanical systems are complex. But what really matters is results. Sky & Telescope described a
first experience autoguiding the 20” MAX-ACF with a large format CCD camera. After a few initial set-up procedures…
“the numbers looked good, so I tried a 5-minute autoguiding exposure. The image was perfect… I went on to
make 15 more 5-minute exposures that night, and every one was a keeper!”
We thought of everything. Then made it electronic.
From electronic focusing and collimation, to electronic drive-training and sensor calibration, from electronic
temperature controls to electronic High-Precision Pointing (HPP), the 20” MAX-ACF can help you do
anything from imaging Saturn to imaging an 18th magnitude galaxy too dim to visually confirm before you
take the shot.
Adding on to your 20” MAX-ACF.
Your 20” MAX-ACF is absolutely the telescope of a lifetime. Meade features a complete line of additional
accessories that will help your scope grow with you for years to come.
On Tripod: #2008-MA X-01
16" 20"
20" (508mm) aperture
Advanced Coma-Free
f/8 focal ratio (4046mm)
AutoStar II (180,000 object database)
16-Channel Sony® GPS Receiver
Ultra-Wide Series 5000 ™ 24mm eyepiece
UHTC Optical Coatings included
670 lbs net weight (mount and tripod)
12 vdc, 5 amp power supply required
Slew Speed: .01 sidereal to
2˚/sec in 115 increments
Guide Speeds: 0x and 2x
20" on MA X w/A Z Pier: #2008-MA X-02
For a full list of specifications go to Specifications are subject to change without notice.
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