If you’re looking for a new telescope, then you’re undoubtedly going to come across the Celestron Nexstar 8SE. This computerized telescope is very well known within astronomy circles, and it’s thought to be one of the best options if you’re just getting started with stargazing.
It’s surprisingly portable and comes supplied with bleeding-edge technology and features, including brilliant optics, a highly convenient mount, and a very plain, straightforward Red Dot finder that makes it easy to use for veterans while also making it very accessible and rewarding for beginners too.
There are some who say that this is the best telescope for viewing planets and other deep space objects. Today we’re going to take a look at the benefits the Nexstar 8SE has to offer while mentioning the potential pitfalls you should know about when looking up into the night sky.
Celestron Nexstar 8SE Review – Telescope at first glance
This telescope model is by all means futuristic in design, and it would be pretty fair to say that it belongs in Sci-Fi movies more than it belongs in the world of today. Luckily, it’s here for all astronomy enthusiasts, beginners, and professionals to use and marvel at the secrets of the universe.
- NEXSTAR 8SE COMPUTERIZED TELESCOPE: Celestron’s iconic orange tube telescope combines legendary 8" Schmidt-Cassegrian optics with updated technology and the latest features for an amazing stargazing experience for beginners and experienced observers alike.
- 8-INCH APERTURE SCHMIDT-CASSEGRAIN TELESCOPE: Large, 8-inch primary mirror packs enough light-gathering ability to deliver spectacular views of the Moon and planets, along with deep-sky objects like the Whirlpool Galaxy and Hercules Globular Cluster.
- FULLY-AUTOMATED GOTO MOUNT: With a database of 40,000+ celestial objects, NexStar SE's GoTo mount locates and tracks objects for you. It's the perfect telescope for astronomy beginners. NexStar SE is also compatible with StarSense and SkyPortal WiFi.
Its dimensions measure 42 inches by 23.7 inches by 13 inches, which means that it’s quite petite in comparison to average Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. Furthermore, it weighs approximately 40 pounds; although that’s not necessarily lightweight per se, it is very portable still.
The first thing that comes to mind when looking at its design is its short tubing. Don’t be into thinking it is meant for short-range space observation – it’s quite the opposite. It packs some of the most advanced optical features that excel in both long and short-range space viewing, but we’ll get to that in due to time.
Everything you need to know about Celestron’s Nexstar 8SE is that it’s a computerized digital telescope that packs a massive punch for the buck.
Manufacturer specs & use
If you’re a professional who wants to have a quick and clear overview of the most notable features and characteristics of Celestron’s Nexstar 8SE telescope, consult the details below:
Design type: Schmidt-Cassegrain | Aperture: 203.2 mm (8 inches) | Focal Length (FL): 2032 mm (80 inches) | Focal Ratio (FR): f10 | Finderscope: Star Pointer™ Red-Dot | Max useful magnification: 480x | Min useful magnification: 29x | Optical coating type: Starbright XLT | Dovetail: CG 5 Dovetail Bar | Mount type: Alt-azimuth outfitted with Goto-motorised tracking | Actual Dimensions: 42 inches by 23.7 inches by 13 inches | Weight: 48.9 pounds
Now, you can actually use AA batteries with the Celestron 8SE, which does make it a fully portable telescope. However, you may notice that with a high powered device like this one, you won’t be able to use all its features when you’re running it with AA batteries.
For this reason, it’s usually recommended that you find another form of power supply instead. Most people tend to opt for a power adapter, which is an additional expense. Though you can get portable adapters, you can also connect it to your mains with the right AC adapter and power cable. If you are within reaching distance of a plug socket, this is probably going to be your best option.
The first and probably most important feature of Celestron’s Nexstar 8SE telescope is the 8-inch Aperture. Truth be told, it’s pretty common for a telescope with such a price tag to have a large scope, although it’s also true that an 8-inch aperture is a wonderful feature to have, not to mention that its focal length of 2032 millimeters is absolutely brilliant.
Optics-wise, this telescope boasts maximum magnification of 480x, which basically means that you will be able to spot pretty much anything up to Neptune, which basically covers our entire solar system.
Of course, this refers to ‘theoretical maximal magnification’, which also means that its performance is prone to minor chromatic aberrations when you rig the scope to its max capacity. Further at that note, Nexstar 8SE sports a top-shelf mirror with a superb focal ratio. It also rocks Celestron’s patented E Lux 25 millimeter Plossl eyepiece to complement the astonishing quality of the optics.
Probably the most notable thing to mention about the Celestron Nexstar 8SE is that its star alignment is very easy to get the hang of. Being computerized allows you to find thousands of different stars and constellations in the night sky without having to worry about searching for them yourself. It really is astronomy made easy.
Essentially, you’ll be able to spot (almost) every single celestial body in our solar system as Nexstar 8SE packs an exquisite 8-inch mirror that boasts up to 480x magnification. This includes phases of Mercury & Venus, every single detail of the Moon, Mars’s ice caps, dust storms, or albedo shading, Jupiter’s bands and its moons, rings of Saturn, and then finally, Neptune and Triton.
Of course, you’ll need to position your 8SE appropriately and pray for at least decent weather, but the former shouldn’t be a problem given the fact that this telescope boasts exceptional transportability.
The Nexstar 8SE has a large optical tube that makes it instantly recognisable amounts other telescopes. This optical tube weighs around 10kg, and is the bulk of the weight of the scope. But, this is where all the magic happens. It’s optics are coated in the Celestron Starbright XLT coatings, which allows the telescope to gather a lot of light.
It’s mounted on a Computerized Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm Mount, which is perfect for those who are looking for simplicity.
In a nutshell, the best things about Celestron’s Nexstar 8SE are that it offers superb optics, it is lightweight and fairly light, and its Goto tracking is absolutely phenomenal. The sheer fact that you can take a peek outside the realms of our solar system with it speaks volumes about its optical quality, which is obviously its main forte.
The mount of Nexstar 8SE is one of the finest telescope mounts on the market of today. It’s a computerized modified alt-azimuth single-fork mount boasting 12 pounds of load capacity, an accessory tray, nine slew speeds, as well as Sidereal, Solar & Lunar tracking rates. The fact that it is lightweight and durable enough to withstand so much weight gives us a clear perception of just how great it is for on-field use.
The best thing about it, however, is that it comes with a pre-installed NexStar+ Database, which is comprised of over 40,000 celestial objects and 200 user-defined programmable objects. This is a really extensive object database, and for beginners who have no idea what viewing position they need, it can prove to be invaluable.
What’s more, you’ll be set to use it straight out of the box as it also comes with integrated Celestron’s Starry-Night software and the Sky Portal app. Overall, this is definitely one of the best telescopes you can find in the price range.
The main downsides of this telescope are its somewhat limited battery and flimsiness of some of its parts. Both of these ‘downfalls’ of sorts shouldn’t present much trouble as they are amendable. Maintain your telescope well and you can rest assured that the plastic parts survive for years and years. On another hand, batteries can always be changed or recharged, so this is definitely not a long-term issue or a fault in 8SE’s design.
With the battery of the 8SE, it really makes it necessary for you either to have a ton of batteries to use, or preferably a power source. This means that in terms of portability, it isn’t one of the better choices available on the market right now. But if you’re just looking for something to use at home, then this likely won’t make much of a difference for you.
Ever since its invention, the telescope was a marvellous contraption – even the simplest designs were pretty complex in nature, and they offered the world what was deemed impossible at the time, which is a glimpse into the vast, wide unknown.
And even though it’s more than clear that massive leaps and advancements in technology in this particular sphere have made telescopes even more mind-boggling, Celestron’s Nexstar 8SE took it onto an entirely different level. The 8 inch primary mirror does make a huge difference in terms of light transmission, and when you combine that with a long focal length, this really is one of the better computerized telescopes you can find in the current market.
Although it is just slightly pricier in comparison to an average telescope, Celestron’s Nexstar 8SE offers so much; in fact, most similarly priced models are of subpar quality in virtually every aspect of performance, starting with the quality of the optics, over the quality of the mount, down to its versatility. We highly recommend it to everyone and anyone looking to get the most value for their money.