When you want to find celestial objects in the night sky, you need a good quality telescope to do so. The Celestron Nexstar series is one of the most celebrated telescopes in recent years, with the 4SE being the cheapest of the SE models available. But how good is the 4SE, and is it worth your investment?
Well, that really depends on what you’re looking for in a telescope. The Nexstar series in general have some of the most highly related $1000 telescopes. The Celestron Nexstar 4SE has a lot to offer, and it’s a good choice if you know how to use it properly. Let’s look at this telescope in closer detail to see whether it might be the right option for you.
Celestron Nexstar 4SE Review
- Celestron’s iconic “orange tube” design is updated with all the latest features to provide the best stargazing experience for beginners and experienced observers alike.
- 4-inch aperture provides excellent light-gathering ability at an affordable price. You’ll get impressive views of the Moon and planets, along with deep sky objects like the Orion Nebula, while retaining a compact form factor.
- Fully automated GoTo mount with database of 40,000+ celestial objects automatically locate and tracks objects for you. SkyAlign technology gets your telescope aligned and ready to observe in minutes. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the night sky, you can easily align your telescope on any three bright objects.
The Celestron Nexstar 4SE is one of the most popular telescopes on the current market, and it’s one of Celestron’s bestselling telescopes in previous years. It’s the little brother to the 5SE, 6SE and the 8SE, which are all essentially the same telescope just with greater aperture.
Of course, the main benefit of opting for a telescope with a lower aperture is that they’re typically a lot cheaper, and that’s true of the 4SE. What you do get though is a computerized telescope that although is a larger telescope, is perfect for spotting double stars out there in the solar system.
One thing to note about the tube of the telescope is that it uses spherical mirrors, with a standard primary and secondary mirror working in tandem with one another. Now, if you’re after a small scope, then this definitely isn’t the right option for you, as although it has a relatively small aperture, it’s a big telescope. Let’s break things down into a little more detail and find out more about the 4SE.
When we’re looking at a telescope, the first thing we want to check out are its specs. This way, we can see whether it meets our requirements and we’ll be able to use it for the right objectives.
Design type: Maksutov-Cassegrain | Aperture: 102 mm (4 inches) | Focal Length (FL): 1325 mm | Focal Ratio (FR): f13 | Finderscope: Star Pointer™ | Max useful magnification: 240x | Optical coating type: Starbright XLT | Dovetail: Quick Release Tube Clamp | Mount type: Alt-azimuth | Weight: 11 lb
Although it’s a larger telescope, it’s actually pretty lightweight and easy to carry around with you when you’re outdoors. This is where an additional dew shield may come in handy, as it can get fogged up depending on the weather. It does run through AA batteries very quickly though, so you’ll want to bear this in mind and probably use a rechargeable pack with it.
The high focal ratio means that you’re going to get a solid image quality of deep space objects, but it may struggle when looking for a wider view of the sky. It’s a great telescope for viewing planets though, which is what most people will want from a telescope.
The Nexstar 4SE has a lot to offer and it has many different features. It’s 4 inch aperture is matched by a 1325mm focal length, which gives it a focal ratio of f/13.
Of course, the main feature of the Nexstar 4SE is that it comes with a Go-To mount. Having a GoTo mount enables you to see more than 40,000 night sky objects easily. By using a simple controller and entering in the right coordinates, you can track pretty much any object in the night sky – this is why it’s so commonly recommended for beginners to start with a telescope like this. It eliminates the need to spend ages working out how to find a specific star.
These Celestron telescopes are known for their orange design and their high build quality. It comes with a good quality Starpoint finderscope, and SkyAlign will allow you to easily align the telescope with 3 bright objects in the night sky. It also will come collimated, so you don’t need to spend a ton of time collimating your telescope when you get it either.
Optics & Build Quality
This telescope is a variant of a Maksutov cassegrain telescope that we generally refer to as a “spot cassegrain”. This means that the light shines through onto the primary mirror, and then onto a corrector plate before it reaches your vision. They’re quite easy to make, which is why they’re the most popular form of Maksutov telescope.
Like the other options in the Nexstar range, it’s built from high quality materials and is made to last. It uses Starbright optical coatings to ensure that your view quality is high and bright enough for you to see clearly. Although it is fairly light, it’s still quite a robust telescope that isn’t going to be broken easily.
This is pretty much the perfect first telescope for beginners just getting into astronomy properly. Whilst it doesn’t have the power of some other models, it makes up for this in other ways.
The Nexstar 4SE provides a great image, whilst being extremely easy to use for beginners. With the Mount, it makes for one of the best ways to find new objects in the night sky, as it has an index of recorded objects way beyond many others. This makes finding stars, constellations and planets very simple!
The 4SE is heavy enough that it stays stable when you’re using it, but light enough that you can pick it up and move it pretty easily. So overall, there are many good things about this Nexstar telescope.
The main drawback of the 4SE is that it’s really designed for simple views of the night sky. If you’re trying to get very in depth views of distant planets or objects, then this telescope isn’t going to be powerful enough. If you want something more powerful, then you could consider the 6SE or even the 8SE instead. They’re both a significant increase in aperture, and that can make a massive difference.
It’s also not the best choice if you’re looking for an astrophotography telescope. For this, I typically recommend an APO refractor as the best option. You really need a long focal length if you want to get in detail photos of Saturn’s rings and star clusters, and this telescope doesn’t offer that. Plus, this is a pretty heavy telescope when you actually consider its power, so it’s not very portable.
The 4SE has not got a fast focal ratio, which is necessary for astrophotography, to perform well and take long exposure images. It also comes on an Alt-az mount, which isn’t good for taking photos. An equatorial mount is the astrophotographers telescope of choice for this, as it allows you to track stars much easier.
So all in all, there are some small criticisms of the 4SE; it’s not a good astrophotography telescope, but that’s really only because there are other alternatives better suited to it with a high magnification.
All in all, the Celestron 4SE is a great option for both beginner astronomers and intermediates who want a telescope that is really easy and simple to use. The motorized mount is definitely its major selling point, and with a large index of stars for you to discover, it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular. With the solar system align feature you also don’t need to worry about spending a ton of time getting a precise alignment.
Of course, it’s 4 inch aperture mean that it’s not going to be able to see very deep sky objects, however it isn’t really intended for that kind of use. But for the majority of stars and objects in the night sky, then it’s a perfect telescope to get started with.