NexStar series from Celestron is a Schmidt-Cassegrain designed catadioptric telescope. Catadioptric telescope uses both lens and mirror to form the image and provides a long focal length in a relatively compact body which is perfect for astrophotography. There are four different models in Nexstar series 4SE, 5SE, 6SE, 8SE. The main difference between these is the size of Aperture.
Here we will talk in depth about the “Telescope of the year 2016” award winner Celestron NexStar 8 SE. In this review we will discuss its pros, cons and all other specifications and why this is such a desirable telescope among the astronomers.
Let’s get started:-
Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture: 203.2 mm
Focal Length: 2032mm
Focal Ratio: f/10.0
Optical Tube Length: 17.0″ / 43.2 cm
Mount Type: Motorized Alt-azimuth single-arm fork
Tripod: Stainless steel
Weight: 33.0 lb / 15.0 kg, fully assembled
Our Rating: 5/5 Star
Celestron NexStar 8 SE comes with a primary mirror of 8-inch (203.2mm) which allows the telescope to capture enough light to provide clearer, sharper high-quality image. Celestron is using its trademark StraBright XLT multi-coating system where Celestron uses an alloy of aluminum and silicon dioxide or titanium dioxide to increase the reflectivity and multi-layer anti-reflective lens coating of hafnium dioxide and magnesium fluoride. Because of these coating light gets evenly distributed and thus results in the whole lot crispier image as compared to other 8-inch scopes in the market.
NexStar 8SE has a focal length of 2032mm and a focal ratio of f/10, bigger aperture and longer focal length allows the scope to gather 77% more light than its predecessor NexStar 6SE and allows the user to view more distant objects. At a dark site in a perfect condition, you can clearly view cloud bands on Jupiter, its four moons, Neptune, Saturn, Saturn’s moon and Cassini division in her rings, Mars ice caps and also many more galaxies and nebulas. See one such image of Orion nebula taken from NexStar 8SE by a user (Right).
Scope comes with 25mm wide view eyepiece which when combined with scope’s 2032mm focal length allows the user to magnify the object up to 81x. Telescope also features a StarPointer Red Dot finder scope mounted on the scope that allows users to locate the object faster.
Nexstar series telescope is one of the easiest telescopes to assemble. Entire telescope weighs about 35 pounds, it is so compact and lightweight that even a beginner/novice user can assemble the piece and make it ready for observation within a minute without screw, bolts or any other tools.
Before starting your stargazing session telescope needs to be properly aligned. To help you on this Celestron introduced its patented Sky Align technology. After powering on the telescope user needs to enter the date, time, and present GPS location (there is a mobile app for that) through the remote controller. After that point, the telescope to any three bright stars in the sky or point it to the moon and two stars through StarPointer, well done the telescope is properly aligned. Now, rest of the process of locating an object is fully automatic because of the inbuilt object database of 40000 objects and a controller. Just enter the name of the celestial object you want to observe, GoTo feature will automatically rotate the scope to that direction and will point to that celestial object. SO EASY!!!
The scope comes with solid steel tripod, which makes the telescope quite stable.
The telescope is easy to assemble and to use. Because of its compact size and weight the scope is so easy to assemble and disassemble that even a novice user will mount it in minutes.
GoTo system and Sky align technology makes the process of locating celestial objects extremely easy.
Scope comes with an excellent optics and a big aperture that delivers a high quality, crisp image.
Cons & Solution
While Celestron NexStar 8SE is an ideal telescope but also like any other product in the market it has some flaws “nothing is perfect in this world”. The best thing about of these drawbacks is that this problem can be easily sorted out with additional accessories.
Vibration– Telescope is using single fork arm mount. While the mount is carrying a lot of weight in 8SE but the absence of steady second arm causes minor vibration near the eyepiece. Best and cheap solution to the problem is,
Vibration dampening pads. (Price 20$ approx.)
Eyepiece– After spending around 1200$ on this telescope, we were expecting to get minimum 2 eyepieces but Celestron is providing only one eyepiece. However, the quality of eyepiece is good too but to get the best use of 8SE over time you need additional eyepieces.
Highest useful magnification of a telescope is 400x, to get that power we need minimum 5mm eyepiece. Best solution is to get a,
Celestron Eyepieces Pack. (Price 135$ approx.)
The pack contains 5 different high quality, multi coated Plossl eyepiece and one 2x Barlow lens. It also has 6 different colored eyepiece filters to observe the moon, sun, planets.
Power supply– This scope comes with 8AA batteries, but this scope needs a lot of power and because of this the batteries get drained quickly. The best solution is the external power source.
Celestron Power Tank. (Price 57$ approx.)
Celestron NexStar 8SE is a great high powered computerized telescope that offers a lot of advanced feature and functionality in a compact body. Observing deep sky object and also taking a beautiful photograph of those celestial objects for any astrophotography enthusiast is so much easier due to its fast focal ratio. In fact, we were so impressed with Celestron NexStar series that we had included two models of this series (6SE & 8SE) in our “The best telescopes of 2017” list.
Overall, NexStar 8SE is a smart telescope that makes stargazing a cinch and would make a great addition to anyone’s collection.