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Meade 20" MAX-ACF Advanced Coma-Free on MAX Robotic GEM w/AZ Pier

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Product Description

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. 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.     Aperture
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.

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