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Celestron NexStar 8SE Telescope Evaluation

The Celestron NexStar 8SE computerized telescope is likely one of the best-selling telescope packages of all time. It options a big aperture optical telescope and a computerized GoTo mount.

The NexStar collection of SCTs have been round for over a decade, and I used to be lastly in a position to expertise this beginner-friendly telescope for myself.

I used to be impressed with the completeness of this package deal, from the 1.25″ 25mm eyepiece and diagonal, to the purple dot finder mounted to the 8-inch OTA.

Celestron NexStar 8SE Video Evaluation.

This can be a primarily visible telescope, meant for having fun with views of the moon, planets, and the brighter nebulae and galaxies by way of the eyepiece.

However what about astrophotography? The design of the monitoring telescope mount (fork-mounted Alt-Az) wasn’t designed for it, however is it an entire waste of time?

On this put up, I’ll present my outcomes utilizing Celestron’s NexYZ smartphone adapter. If you happen to’re out there for a grab-and-go telescope (that excels in views of the moon and planets), I believe you’ll get pleasure from my evaluate of the Celestron NexStar 8SE.

astrobackyard review

Celestron NexStar 8SE Evaluation

Is that this the all-in-one telescope package deal that does all of it? Not fairly, however that’s okay. It will get the essential elements proper. The telescope OTA (optical tube meeting) is top-notch, whereas the mount is simply sufficient to get you by. 

I requested the AstroBackyard group on Fb how they felt, and nearly all of them had superb issues to say about this telescope. From seeing their first-ever view of the planet Saturn to surprisingly spectacular astrophotography, the NexStar 8SE is a extensively appreciated piece of equipment. 

Here’s a spectacular picture of the planet Jupiter, captured by Christian Ralph utilizing his Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope. 

Planet Jupiter

The planet Jupiter captured utilizing the Celestron NexStar 8SE (Christian Ralph).

There are just a few quirks in fact (the purple dot finder scope is rudimentary, and the single-arm fork mount is just a little wobbly), however total everybody appeared to agree that it was a sensible buy they usually obtained quite a lot of use out of it. Some folks even talked about that had offered the scope, and wished that they’d stored it. 

As an astrophotographer, the very first thing I observed was the Alt-Az fork mount, and that’s not what you need in case your main curiosity is long-exposure astrophotography. (An equatorial telescope mount is finest).

However, folks have taken spectacular pictures with this telescope, it simply requires a distinct strategy. If you happen to’re into photographing planets the Celestron NexStar 8SE will work out simply effective. This 8″ SCT  was meant for crisp views of photo voltaic system objects, and that’s the place it excels. 

If you happen to take a look at the specs for this telescope, it highlights some fairly spectacular potential for quite a lot of visible observations. I can see why inexperienced persons are drawn to this package deal as their first critical scope.

celestron nexstar telescope review

The NexStar 8SE is nice for spur-of-the-moment observing periods of the moon or planets.

NexStar 8SE Telescope Specs

  • Aperture: 203 mm (8″)
  • Telescope Focal Size: 2032 mm
  • Focal Ratio: F/10
  • Digital camera/Eyepiece Connection: 1.25″ Nosepiece
  • Diagonal Included: Sure
  • Tripod Weight: 10 lbs
  • Tube Weight: 12.5 lbs
  • Computerized: Sure
  • Drive Sort: DC Servo motors
  • Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
  • Secondary Obstruction: 35mm
  • Tube Diameter: 226mm
  • Tube Size: 432mm

Celestron NexStar 8SE Review

Included Objects

  • 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain OTA
  • NexStar SE Mount: Motorized Alt-Azimuth/ GoTo
  • Tripod with Adjustable Metal Legs
  • Crimson Dot Finderscope
  • Accent Tray
  • NexStar+ Hand Controller
  • 1.25-inch Star Diagonal
  • 1.25-inch, 25 mm Eyepiece
  • Mini-USB Port
  • Celestron Starry Evening Software program
  • 2 12 months Guarantee

First Impressions

Establishing the Celestron NexStar 8SE for the primary time was a fast and painless expertise. As soon as assembled, all the equipment is gentle sufficient to be carried across the yard if obligatory.

I used an AC adapter to plug the mount into family energy within the yard, however this mount may also be powered through 8 x AA batteries for full mobility. 

Though the purple dot finderscope is easy and cheap, it’s surprisingly efficient at confirming the pointing path of this excessive magnification telescope.


Proper out of the gate, I observed just a few issues. The tripod I’d name “medium-duty”, it’s just like the one which comes within the latest Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTI package deal. It appears steady sufficient for a mount and scope of this measurement, and it retains weight down for journey.

The trade-off of a heavier extra steady tripod most likely isn’t value the additional weight. The mount head connects securely utilizing 3 threaded bolts. It has a pleasant design and it feels safe.

Single Arm Fork Mount

The mount head unit and fork arm have a plastic outer casing, reminding you that this can be a budget-friendly GoTo telescope package deal. The Celestron NexStar distant seats neatly inside the arm, which is a intelligent space-saving design.

Customers of this Celestron NexStar 8SE talked about {that a} dual-arm fork design (just like the one on the CPC collection telescopes) would assist the OTA really feel much more safe. The motorized mount head is the place the price financial savings come into play. It feels just a little “toy-ish”, however the 8″ NexStar OTA reminds us that this can be a critical telescope.

Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope

It’s an 8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope with a focal size of 2032mm at F/10. The orange tube Celestron SCT has been in manufacturing since 1970, and for good purpose. It packs loads of light-gathering energy right into a compact, sensible measurement.

The optics on this telescope ship crisp, high-contrast views, thanks partly to Celestron’s Starbright XLT optical coatings.

This telescope collects gentle at an f-ratio of F10, which is way “slower” than a typical reflector or refractor telescope. Which means that the fainter nebulae and galaxies shall be robust to watch, particularly for those who’re observing the evening sky from a light-polluted metropolis.

Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope

The 8″ SCT optical tube meeting mounted to the single-arm fork mount. 

NexStar Hand Controller

The Celestron NexStar 8SE features a NexStar hand controller, with over 40,000 objects in its database. The hand controller matches neatly contained in the arm of the fork mount, and may also be prolonged to be used whereas on the eyepiece. This can be a intelligent design and works effectively within the subject. 

25mm Plossl Eyepiece

A 1.25″ 25mm Plossl eyepiece was included with the telescope. This can be a helpful magnification for quite a lot of objects within the evening sky from planets, to shiny galaxies.

You will need to use an eyepiece that does not have a excessive magnification when aligning the telescope. Chances are you’ll wish to buy a good wider eyepiece (comparable to a 32mm Plossl) for this goal. 

The upper the magnification of the eyepiece, the extra “looking” you’ll have to do to align the telescope mount to a shiny star.


Even with the massive aperture SCT telescope, all the equipment weighs simply 24 lbs in complete. The mount, telescope, and tripod can break down into particular person elements for simpler transport.

This telescope is way simpler to convey with you to a darkish sky website than an equal aperture Dobsonian telescope.

The fully-assembled setup can simply be lifted up and moved throughout the yard, or introduced again into your own home or storage. 

GoTo Computerized Mount

One of many largest attracts to this telescope, other than the compact, travel-friendly design, is its computerized GoTo performance. You possibly can select an object you want to view on the hand controller, and the telescope will level proper to it.

In fact, to do that, the telescope must be the place it’s on earth for correct pointing. Fortunately, this can be a dead-simple course of known as “SkyAlign“.

The SkyAlign function is used on a number of Celestron mounts together with the NexStar GT, NexStar SLT, NexStar SE, NexStar Evolution, SkyProdigy, Astro Fi WiFi, and CPC telescopes.

observing through the eyepiece

To align the mount it’s essential level to (and middle) three shiny stars within the evening sky. 

You don’t need to know the situation or title of a single star within the sky for it to work. You merely select your location from the database, I selected Toronto (shut sufficient), and level the scope at three shiny stars. Any 3 shiny stars.

That will help you level straight at them, you should utilize the included purple dot finder. Preserve each eyes open, and transfer the scope till the purple dot is straight on the star. Whenever you look within the eyepiece, it needs to be proper there, or very shut.

Then middle the star, and ensure these 3 positions. As soon as that’s accomplished, your telescope is aware of precisely the place to level.

On my first evening out with the Celestron NexStar 8SE, I selected to watch the Ring Nebula within the cancellation Lyra. Certain sufficient, with the easy SkyAlign routine carried out beforehand, the telescope slowed proper to it, first strive.

Now that could be a constructive first expertise. Bravo Celestron.

Beneficial Equipment

To essentially get pleasure from utilizing this excessive magnification telescope, do your self a favor and decide up a pleasant wide-field eyepiece. As I discussed. the NexStar 8SE package deal features a 1.25″ 25mm Plossl, which is an honest begin.

A wider eyepiece will make the star alignment course of just a little simpler and makes for a brighter view. I examined an outdated Celestron 32mm Plossl eyepiece on the 8SE, and it offered a barely wider, brighter view by way of the telescope.

A wider (decrease magnification) eyepiece will make the SkyAlgin course of simpler as a result of the alignment star shall be simpler to find in a bigger space of sky. In case you are in search of a suggestion, I like to recommend the Tele Vue 32mm Plossl Eyepiece

If it’s planets you’re after, get an honest excessive magnification eyepiece too, one thing within the 10mm or decrease vary. Remember that the view by way of a excessive magnification eyepiece underneath 10mm shall be a lot dimmer.

10mm eyepiece

The Celestron Luminos 10mm eyepiece is nice for viewing planets up-close.

Celestron NexYZ Smartphone Adapter

Sure, you are able to do astrophotography with the Celestron NexStar 8SE! The best option to get began is to make use of your current smartphone, and maintain it as much as the eyepiece of the telescope.

Utilizing this technique (eyepiece projection astrophotography), you possibly can seize spectacular pictures of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and even Mars. Conserving the cellphone nonetheless sufficient for a photograph, and lining the digital camera lens up with the middle of the eyepiece is the difficult half.

Fortunately, the Celestron NexYZ smartphone adapter may help with these duties, due to a intelligent 3-axis design. The adapter clamps on to the target of the eyepiece (each 1.25″ and a pair of″ eyepieces), and securely holds your cellphone in place.

smartphone adapter

The Celestron NeXYZ Smartphone Adapter.

You should utilize the 3-axis adjustment knobs to middle your smartphone’s digital camera lens within the eyepiece. Utilizing the “professional” or “handbook” mode of your digital camera, you possibly can fine-tune the digital camera settings to take an incredible picture of the Moon’s floor or Saturn’s rings. 

Smartphone astrophotography with the Celestron NexYZ adapter is finest for footage of the moon and shiny planets. Deep-sky astrophotography (of galaxies and nebulae) would require extra {hardware} such because the Celestron NexStar SE & Evolution Wedge and the right adapter and t-ring in your DSLR.

astrophotography accessories

Associated Put up: Easy methods to Connect a Digital camera to Your Telescope

Greatest Objects to See within the NexStar 8SE

The Celestron NexStar 8SE is finest used for high-magnification views of the Moon and planets. Utilizing the included 25mm Plossl eyepiece, the views of Saturn and Jupiter are unimaginable. 

The SkyAlign function lets you rise up and working rapidly, so you can begin observing sooner. Listed here are some examples of objects you possibly can get pleasure from seeing by way of the Celestron NexStar 8SE, even out of your yard:

  • The Moon
  • Saturn
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Venus
  • Ring Nebula
  • Dumbbell Nebula
  • Pleiades
  • Andromeda Galaxy
  • M13 Globular Cluster

Remaining Ideas

I’ve a smooth spot for gear that makes the astronomy expertise welcoming and approachable. Too many inexperienced persons have had a irritating expertise on their first evening underneath the celebrities, and lots of of them don’t return to the passion.

The NexStar 8SE can ship you your first view of the planet Jupiter, or the Andromeda Galaxy. Getting thus far is easy and rewarding, and doesn’t require current comprehension of the evening sky. 

The only-arm fork-mount design isn’t good, and it sacrifices stability for a compact, moveable design. In a nutshell, the telescope and optics are improbable, the mount is just not.

When slewing the telescope at slower speeds (4 or under), I observed that the response is “laggy”, that means that the telescope doesn’t transfer for a second or two after urgent the arrow button. 

backyard telescope

Be suggested that touching the telescope or eyepiece whereas viewing an object will end in a shaky picture, so preserve these fingers off whereas observing. That is one thing you’ll need to get used to. 

The NeXYZ smartphone adapter is a good little design, most likely the very best one in the marketplace. However capturing something apart from the moon or planets shall be difficult.

Others have accomplished it, however until you’re keen to place the time in utilizing a cellphone for deep-sky, follow photo voltaic system objects.

You possibly can fasten a DSLR digital camera or planetary digital camera to the telescope for significantly better pictures, however to precisely observe objects you’ll need to put money into a wedge to orient the telescope in direction of the celestial pole. 

The NexStar SkyAlign system is useless easy to carry out, and you’ll skip over the polar alignment course of and get straight to observing. The telescope can discover and comply with an object within the evening sky for you.

Saturn stayed within the middle of the eyepiece for nearly 20 minutes at over 2000mm focal size – strive to do this with a handbook dob.

The 8″ telescope has sufficient aperture to ship superb views of the moon, planets, and brighter nebulae and galaxies. If the worth of the 8SE is just too steep for you, you may have choices. This telescope is available in 4, 5, and 6-inch variations.

NexStar 4SE

The NexStar collection of computerized Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes.

General the Celestron NexStar 8SE is a exceptional product, and I extremely advocate it to anybody in search of a sensible, travel-friendly, visible scope that lets you get your toes moist in astrophotography.

Till subsequent time, clear skies!

I used to be loaned this telescope from OPT for testing functions, and was underneath no obligation to offer a constructive evaluate, nor was I compensated in any means for this text (or video). 

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