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Meade 20 Inch MAX-ACF Advanced Coma-Free Telescope on MAX Robotic German EQ Mount

Item# MEAD248
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  • 90 Day Lead Time is only an estimate - call for specific delivery information
  • 20 inch Advanced Coma-Free Telescope
  • MAX Robotic German Equatorial Mount
  • Electronic Front Focusing System
  • Laser-Aligned
  • Cooling Fan
  • Carbon Fiber/Kevlar Optical Tube
  • Sony GPS Receiver


The Telescope that will blow your mind


Meade Telescopes have long been known as an industry leader in equipment for amature astronomy enthusiasts.  But why stop there?  Meade has developed an amazing piece of equipment for viewing and astrophotography with the all new MAX mount.   


ALL - NEW OPTICAL SYSTEM -The "advanced" in Advanced Coma Free.

A traditional Ritchey-Chrétien (RC) is a type of reflector that delivers a coma-free, flat field of view via hyperbolic primary and secondary mirrors. RC telescopes (from a variety of manufacturers) are found in most of the world's top observatories and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Because the mirrors in these telescopes have always been very expensive to make, few amateur astronomers could enjoy them. Fortunately, Meade engineers developed a radical new Advanced Coma Free design by combining a hyperbolic secondary mirror with a corrector-lens-and-spherical-primary-mirror combination that performs as one hyperbolic element. This ACF design produces a coma-free, flat field of view that rivals traditional RC telescopes at a fraction of the cost. The design even eliminates diffraction spikes and improves astigmatism, both of which are inherent in the traditional RC design. When reviewing Meade's LX400-ACF Advanced Coma Free, Sky and Telescope magazine said, " [It] 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."


Total Mount Capacity is 250 lbs (excluding counterweights). This type of carrying capacity exceeds anything else on the market. To get this type of capacity in a production mount means you do not have to contract for a one-off design for large aperture instruments. Furthermore, it means that you will be able to add guide scopes, wide field instruments, spectrographs, heavy cameras and coolers to this mount with confidence.


The quick release dovetail plate on the MAX MountT allows you to change optical instruments in about two minutes. Slew the scope down for access, loosen two handles without any tools required and swap on a new instrument ensemble. This is the kind of flexibility that makes German mounts so popular in theory, but only MAX delivers in practice. With the MAX quick release system, swapping scopes takes only minutes. You will not lose alignment. Additionally, the computer assisted balancing and quick release counter weights assure you are tuned up and ready to go back to work quickly.

With competing mounts, you are looking at a milled and drilled plate, Allen wrenches and a lot of time and care to swap OTA assemblies. Then you must support the OTA while you release the worm gears to rebalance, losing your alignment in process.



The MAX has all the controls you need for your OTA and modern cameras up on the saddle plate. This makes a cable free installation of most instrument packages.

In contrast, competing mounts require that you get out your fish tape and pull the cable you want through the RA and DEC axis yourself. Or you might want to call an electrician!


Meade has offered the 16" for years as an SCT on a fork mount.  Now this is available in a 20".  It has been the scope of choice for serious amateurs, colleges and teaching universities. Now you can have an Advanced Coma-Free optical system not only at 16" but at a full half-meter of aperture. This brings the MAX into the domain of serious research. There has been an outcry that observatories are moth-balling scopes in the 1/2 to 1 meter category to save funds to operate a few gargantuan telescopes at their facilities. This is sad because a search of the literature shows that the vast majority of good science is performed with telescopes in the 1/2 meter to 1 meter class.

The MAX MountT with a 1/2 meter Advanced Coma-Free optical system brings a mass produced affordable research scope within the reach of almost any academic institution and many individuals. Remember that comet SL9 was discovered on an 18" scope. A well sited 1/2 meter scope will reach magnitude 19 with a Deep Sky ImagerT in under 1 minute. Magnitude 20 is achievable in 4 minutes.


All Meade LX400T Advanced Coma-Free optical systems utilize Meade's proprietary Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTCT). UHTCT increases total light transmission and image brightness by nearly 20% over Meade's standard coatings. Objects such as stars, galaxies and nebulae will appear significantly brighter.


Low periodic error means that you will have to guide the scope less during extended exposures. When you get PE down to about 5 arc seconds you have a PE below the sky scintillation (seeing) on most nights. This means that exposures of a minute or so can be made with no guiding required. For Deep Sky ImagerT users, snap shooters, supernova hunters, asteroid researchers, variable star studies and a variety of research projects, the mount is simply point and shoot. Coupled with the Smart Mount system to insure pointing accuracy below 1 arc minute, it eliminates the need to center and guide short exposures, vastly increasing the productivity of the telescope in these applications.



This mount can be used anywhere on Earth, from Pole to Pole. No other maker of heavy duty mounts can make this claim.


Large gears are important for several reasons. It means that the shearing forces on the worm assembly are reduced proportionally as the gear diameter increases. This translates to a mount that can carry more load. More teeth mean that the worm turns more quickly and the effect of Periodic Error decreases in proportion to the tooth count. For gears of the same tolerances, our gears will have nearly half the Periodic Error of a 360 tooth gear such as found in the competing Mounts. Also maintaining the same gear diameter in the RA and DEC assure the same mechanical robustness and accuracy in both axes, this is not the case when you drop the DEC gear diameter by 1/3 as in competing Mounts.


MAX is delivered with Autostar Suite Version 4. It is a complete turnkey observatory control system, not an added cost extra. The package includes extensions that allow the scope to be remotely controlled from any web browser without software installation on the remote PC, MAC, PDA or even a cell phone. This kind of convenience makes it ideal for teaching environments where lab workstations can operate the scope from any classroom without extensive software setup.



MAX - Designed by the best for the best.
MAX is the distillation of Meade's generation of experience serving the astronomical community. It is a mount system designed by practiced and experienced observers for the most demanding observers.  The design team's credo was to "Design the last mount you will ever buy." It was a tall order.  We chose to build a classic German mount because it has the flexibility to carry any optical instrument we can design. That includes both our current offerings and ones we are just dreaming up now.  Read on and I think you will agree, MAX really is the finest production telescope mount on the market.


Components of MAX
MAX features a unique modular design that allows a couple of individuals to assemble, either permanently or transportably, a mount twice the size of any other commercially available mount.  The mount breaks down into a Portable Pier (tripod), Pedestal, RA Housing Assembly, and DEC Housing assembly. Together all of the components and an OTA assembly fit easily into a station wagon, SUV, minivan or small truck. When assembled, quick release, but rock solid, dovetail plates allow OTA and instrument packages up to 250 lbs to be quickly mounted and de-mounted.

Pedestal Assembly     
MAX's Pedestal assembly can be configured to cover three altitude ranges without the need of disassembly. Together, the three ranges allow the mount to operate anywhere on the planet. No other maker can make such a claim.  The Pedestal was designed using advanced CAD analysis to assure both ease of adjustment and rock solid stability using modern light weight alloys.  Attractively finished, all standard field installation and adjustments on the Pedestal and mount can be performed without tools using large, easily accessible ergonomic handles and knobs. This kind of design shows Meade's generation of experience making instruments for actual observers.

Right Ascension Housing Assembly    
The RA Housing mates to the Pedestal easily, sliding firmly into a dovetail block that measures over 100 square inches. When locked in place, this broad footprint assures that your mount will operate as a single rigid block delivering accurate and repeatable pointing and tracking performance. The RA Housing contains Meade's proven and patented Autostar II telescope control system, a massive 13.625" pitch diameter worm gear attached to a 3.84” diameter 6061-T6511 aluminum alloy main shaft supported by one 6020 Ball bearing (5.9055 OD x 3.9370 ID x 0.9449 wide) & one 6013 ball bearing (3.9370 OD x 2.5591 ID x 0.7090 wide) .  From the start, this mount is built to handle the load.

Declination Housing Assembly
The Dec Housing mates to the RA Housing using another huge dovetail block. When locked in place, the mount is one single rigid structure ready to carry your instrument payload and point it anywhere in the universe both smoothly and easily with phenomenal accuracy.  The RA Housing, DEC Housing and Pedestal are all designed to allow you to track more than 6 degrees past meridian without interference.  This mount will let you cover the whole sky. We know that best seeing is near the meridian, and we don't want you to miss it.  When you have a mount like MAX, we know one instrument is never enough. In addition to accepting quick change dovetail plates, MAX has two generous wing mount platforms that will allow you to attach guide scopes, piggy back cameras, short focal length refractors and a wide variety of secondary instruments without interfering with the MAX's "all sky" design.


Periodic Error and Pointing Accuracy
Pointing accuracy is an obsession with MAX's designer, the Autostar II enhanced control systems will help you tune your system for peak performance:

  • Max electronically balances your instrument package for stress free operation.
  • Max computer assists you in squaring your optical axis.
  • Max provides photographic polar alignment procedures that eliminate the need for drift alignment.
  • Max features Smart Drive™ that deliver PE performance under 2", better than seeing at most sites.
  • Max features Smart Mount™ to put you on target all over the sky.
  • Because MAX has no clutches or worm releases, you won't spend an extra second aligning, even if you hot switch instruments during an observing run.

Each 20” Max is supplied with two fixed counterweights, a counterweight shaft & safety cap, and three 35# quick release counterweights .  Each 16” Max is supplied with two fixed counterweights, a counterweight shaft & safety cap, and two 35# quick release counterweights.

Low Latitude Kit
Low Latitude Kit is required for operation within 20 degrees of the equator for the tripod version of max only.  It consists of the counter weight shaft (20#), quick release counterweight (35#), safety cap, and tool to reposition tripod legs for low latitude usage.

20”LX400-ACF™ on MAX Robotic Mount 
MAX is sold stand alone, but we could not build this magnificent mount without offering an optical assembly worthy of its prowess. It is available bundled with Meade's revolutionary 16” LX400-ACF™ or 20” LX400-ACF™ Optical Tube Assemblies.  LX400-ACF OTA's integrate seamlessly with MAX. Together you get pinpoint stars from Meade's unique Advanced Coma-Free optical system from up to ½ meters of aperture. In less than a year on the market, features of the LX400-ACF system are already legendary.  

  • Zero expansion carbon fiber body
  • Advanced Coma-Free optics
  • Electronic Collimation
  • Integrated Dew Heater
  • OTA fan for quick cool down
  • Digital Electronic Focus with Presets


The MAX system, your ultimate engine for discovery.

MAX Tripod
The MAX mount tripod can be transported or permanently installed. It was literally designed from the bottom up. It provides a wide stance to assure that it can safely carry MAX's massive payload in all orientations, but still collapses down to a size that is easy to handle. It will even fit in a single vehicle with the rest of your gear. Its design assures that despite its wide stance, it will not interfere with optical systems observing on the meridian. Like the MAX, it sets up, knocks down, and adjusts without the need of tools. You will never get to your remote dark site without the tools necessary to put MAX to work.

MAX Mount™ Pier Assembly
The MAX mount pier is designed for permanent installation. It has been designed to safely carry MAX's massive payload in all orientations. Whether being mounted in a professional observatory, or in an amateur's back yard, the pier is durable to withstand vibration and strong enough to carry the weight of the MAX mount and Telescope payload. The Pier height must be specified at the time of order.


Dimensions & Specifications

Recommended Usage

Astrophotography , Viewing Galaxies/Star Clusters , Viewing Nebulae , Viewing the Moon , Viewing the Planets


1 Year

Power Source

AC Adapter




For the Expert

Weight Complete

694 lbs.



Lens Coating






Good for Astrophotography


Telescopes Series

Meade MAX-ACF Telescopes with MAX EQ Mount

Optical Design

Advanced Coma Free


20 Inches

Focal Length


Focal Ratio


Mount Design


Battery Included


Eyepiece 1

24mm Ultra Wide Angle

Highest Useful Magnification


Star Diagonal

2 Inch

User Level

For the Expert


0.23 Arc Seconds Resolution , 0.23 Arc Seconds Resolving Power , 16 Limiting Magnitude

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