Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope Review

Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope

Celestron NexStar 8 SE TelescopeThis high priced telescope is one of Celestron’s best, and has a lot of features and styles to make it worth the price for any level of user. Styles available are 4 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch and 8 inches. As a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with StarBright XLT high transmission coatings, this is the standard great quality for the company and a good starting point if you want your first advanced telescope. StarPointer finderscope is great for alignment and locating objects in the sky in the most accurate way possible. This little feature will save you time more than once, and it only takes a few times to get used to the adjustments. Soon you will be able to locate objects quickly and easily without needing to resort to the manual to learn how to use this feature.

The arm mount has a quick release fork so that adjustments can be made on the fly. It’s pretty standard, and will get you the most comfortable position possible when you’re star gazing. No tools are needed for the setup, and an optical tube and accessory tray is included to help out with the initial portion. It will be a refreshing change from opening up a telescope box and dumping out over 40 different pieces to put together.

Another portion of the aligning process that is unique is SkyAlign, a feature that lets users align on any three bright celestial object. It’s easier to see this feature in motion to really get a good idea of how it functions, and within minutes you are all lined up depending on the object. What will keep many users busy is the 40,000 object database with up to 200 user definable objects. That doesn’t include the expanded information from over 200 objects, so there is enough information included to last for years if you’re really interested.

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Based in Torrance, California, they were founded in 1964 by Tom Johnson, a former astronomer. He has been celebrated over the years by many and is considered to be the innovator of the amateur astronomy movement. Celestron manufactures telescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes and other accessories. Some of those products are manufactured by their parent company, the Synta Technology Corporation of Taiwan. Before Celestron gained its name it was known as Valor Electronics and focused on electronics and military components.

Out of that company Tom Johnson created the Astro-Optical division, a division which would later form the full Celestron. There first notable telescope was in 1970, the C8 series, a low cost telescope that took the industry by storm. Their biggest impact was that they were low priced enough to start a small movement in educational communities and for aspiring amateur astronomers. A small bit of trouble for the company happened shortly after it was acquired by Tasco in 1997.

That same company folded in 2001, leading to several rivals trying to purchase Celestron and combine their technologies. This was an interesting tug of war but all takeover attempts failed and the company became U.S. owned until 2005 when an affiliate of Synta Technology picked them up. It was a match made in heaven, as the affiliate was already a supplier for Celestron for the past 15 years. Their most famous lines and models are CGE, CGEM, CPC, NexStar, Omni, Onyx, AstroMaster, Ambassader, Travelscope and PowerSeeker.

Best Features

You’re not going to get better optics than what you can get with this telescope for the current price. Combining those same optics with a computerized tracking system gives users a combo that is unparalleled in terms of price and quality. This means that you will see more detail than ever before when viewing things at different intervals. See the famous Great Red Spot in Jupiter or watch dust storms on the planet Mars. All things are possible with the great magnification of this scope and the sum of its parts.

When SkyAlign is setup properly it can identify all the stars for you, and can even quick align itself to any planet or moon. Get aligned in minutes with all of the stars, something that used to take other computerized telescopes ages to do. The included 25mm eyepiece is one of the finest you will get in a starter set and pays for itself the first time you use it. There are a lot of compatible eye pieces you can buy for this telescope and they are all competitively priced. Serious users can always purchase an accessory kit that includes all of the necessary gear that you would want the most for star gazing. For an 8 inch scope it is ultra-portable thanks to the materials that don’t weigh it down. At only 24 pounds total weight it can go anywhere, and will be the highlight of parties and camping trips.


Name recognition may still not be enough to scare away some consumers with the current price tag, since there are other telescopes that include hundreds of dollars’ worth of accessories with the purchase. These are low quality scopes, and very few of them have a brand name backing them up fully. But that is the competition to this scope, which will bleed out the customers with quantity over quality. Although the light weight is appreciated, it is a lot less durable because of it. It’ll take a few bumps and bruises as you bring it place to place, but a good drop could break it real good.

It only takes one person who doesn’t know how to take care of the equipment to ruin your investment, so you’ll be watching this like a smartphone without a screen protector. Thankfully it deals with regular wear and tear just fine, but be wary of heavy drops or hard hits. The battery life is so-so, but that is due to how fast the built in CPU is. This is one of the fastest on the market when aligning, so there is a give and take relationship there. And while other telescopes will give you a headache with this feature, it is okay to sacrifice a little bit of extra battery life for some major efficiency. For the more pro user, astro-photography will be a little difficult with this product because of the light weight.

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There are a lot of things to love about this telescope and very little to hate. The price may ward off some people, but the consumers that are serious about their star gazing will find this an irresistible deal. Since the company is one of the biggest in the business, Celestron is offering a lot of extra accessories and packs for those that want to beef up the power and capabilities of their scope. Even with all of its power, it still is one of the most portable on the market and the easiest to use. A great hand holding manual and easy to use controls only confirm this on first use. There isn’t a better alignment system built into another telescope at this price, and Celestron is banking on that when it markets this telescope to the masses. If you want to see all that the galaxy has to offer, then you should pick this up at the current price.