Celestron NexStar 8SE
Way back in 1970, Celestron made an impact in the astronomy market with their classic and legendary orange tube C8.
Fast forward to this day, the heritage continues with the Celestron NexStar 8SE – built with more advanced, cutting-edge features and great optics for you to have a wonderful experience looking at the sky!
With its excellent optics and large 8-inch aperture, the light-gathering capability of the 8SE offers impressive views; revealing details of even the faintest celestial objects. And because it comes in at a very economical price, it would be the perfect choice for your first serious telescope!
The NexStar 8SE caters to both amateur and experienced users with its easy-to-use system and expandable capabilities that is why it was adjudged as the 2013 Telescope of the Year Awards Winner!
The 8SE features Celestron’s proprietary Schmidt corrector plates which gives you superior views and maximum portability. This is why their legacy lived on – “building high quality optics at an affordable price”.
With its awesome light-gathering ability, the 8SE will give you the best stargazing experience and you will clearly observe the following:
- Spectacular views of the planets
- Deep sky objects (like the spiral arms of the Whirlpool Galaxy or hundreds of pinpoint stars in the Hercules Globular Cluster)
- Cassini’s Division in Saturn’s rings
- The cloud bands on Jupiter and the Great Red Spot
- The Moon – with its craters and other geographic features you’ve never seen before
- Plus a database of 40,000 celestial objects
One very positive thing about the 8SE is its portability. It is designed so that it can be broken into several lightweight and compact pieces which makes transporting the telescope easy, it will fit even in a small vehicle. Transporting to and from your favorite site and setting up is a relatively easy task.
It is also built with NexStar’s unique, patented single fork arm mount which makes it relatively lightweight compare to other models.
What Are The Technologies Incorporated Into The NexStar 8SE?
The NexStar 8SE doesn’t just come with good looks but it is also packed with outstanding technologies which makes it a reliable and all-around astronomy buddy!
- SkyAlign. It helps you align your telescope and ready to observe in just minutes – even if you are unfamiliar with the night sky.
- StarBright XLT. Celestron’s proprietary anti-reflective optical coating technology ensures high-quality light transmission for sharp, high-contrast images.
- StarPointer Finderscope. It helps with alignment and locating objects.
- NexRemote. This allows operation of the telescope using a PC.
- Flash Upgradeable. Hand control software and motor control units can be upgraded via downloadable updates.
- All-Star Polar Alignment. It assists in mechanically aligning your mount with the North Celestial Pole by letting you use any bright star listed in the NexStar hand control.
Following are the wonderful features and specs of the Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope:
- Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
- Aperture: 203mm (8”)
- Focal Length: 2032mm (80 inches)
- Focal ratio: f/10
- Total Weight: 33 pounds (15 kgs.)
- Tripod Weight 9 lbs (4.08 kgs.)
- Magnification of Eyepiece 1: 81 x
- Finderscope: StarPointer
- Star Diagonal: 1.25″
- Mount Type: Single Fork Arm Altazimuth
- Power Requirements: 8-AA batteries (not included)
- Highest Useful Magnification: 480 x
- Lowest Useful Magnification: 29 x
- Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 14
- Resolution (Rayleigh): 0.69 arc seconds
- Resolution (Dawes): 0.57 arc seconds
- Light Gathering Power (Compared to human eye): 843 x
- Apparent Field of View: 0.63 °
- Linear Field of View (@1000 yds): 33 feet (10 m)
- Secondary Mirror Obstruction: 2.5 in (64 mm)
- Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Diameter: 31%
- Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Area: 9.77%
- Optical Coatings: Starbright XLT
- Optical Tube Length: 17 in (432 mm)
- Slew Speeds: Nine slew speeds
- Tracking Rates: Sidereal, Solar and Lunar
- Tracking Modes: Alt-Az, EQ North & EQ South
- Alignment Procedures: SkyAlign, Auto 2-Star Align, 1-Star Align, 2-Star Align, Solar System Align
- Communication Ports: RS-232 communication port on hand control, Autoguider port, Aux port
- Computer Hand Control: Double line, 16 character Liquid Crystal Display with 19 fiber optic backlit LED buttons
- Database: 40,000 objects, 200 user defined programmable objects. Enhanced information on over 200 objects
- Warranty: 2-year Telescope Warranty
- Best for viewing: Brighter deep sky
- Best for imaging: Deep sky
- Wi-Fi Compatible
- StarSense Compatible
- Compatible with SkyQ Link (iPhone or iPad control)
- Compatible with SkySync (GPS functionality)
Where To Buy The Celestron NexStar 8SE?
If you are on the lookout for Celestron NexStar 8SE for sale, there are various online stores that you can check out and one of them is Orion Telescopes. They have been in the business of selling telescopes since 1975 so you can be sure that they know what they’re talking about!
They have the utmost commitment to selling the best quality products with excellent customer care. Plus they ship practically everywhere, including the US, UK, France, Canada, Mexico, India and South America so you’ll be covered.
They also sell various accessories like moon filters, power-boosting Barlow lenses, advanced computerized telescope mounts. telescope cases and covers, observing gear, red LED flashlights, astronomy books and star charts which will help make your observing sessions more convenient, comfortable and meaningful.
If you’re into astrophotography, Orion also sells affordable astrophotography cameras and they also provide how-to tips so you can capture those breathtaking astro images that you’ve been thriving for.
What’s Included In The Box When You Buy The Celestron NexStar 8SE?
The following items are the things that you will find inside the box of the 8SE:
- Telescope Optical Tube Assembly (Celestron 8SE Schmidt-Cassegrain)
- 25mm Telescope Eyepiece (1.25″)
- 90º Star Diagonal (1.25″)
- Metal Tripod
- Computerized Base Unit
- Computerized Hand Controller
- Star Pointer Finder Scope
- RS232 Cable
- The Sky Level 1 Astronomy Software
- NexRemote Telescope Control Software
Is The Celestron NexStar 8SE Good For Astrophotography?
Oh yes! The NexStar 8SE is absolutely great for this application because of its precise GoTo function that will help you find even extremely faint objects which is what you need for high power viewing or astrophotography.
For long range astrophotography though, you would need to use the Wedge accessory which will turn your 8SE unit into a portable astroimaging powerhouse!
The NexStar SE is also Fastar-compatible for ultra-fast, wide field imaging. For planetary imaging, there’s no better choice than a NexStar 8SE paired with a Skyris camera.
How Does The Celestron NexStar 8SE Compare With The 4SE, 5SE & 6SE?
The NexStar SE telescope series has four models namely 4SE, 5SE, 6SE & 8SE.
In order to show you the differences and how each model compare to one another, we will provide tabulated features of all of them side by side. In this case, comparing them would be much easier and straightforward.
The number before the “SE” indicates the size of the aperture. The bigger the number, the bigger the aperture size. Obviously, the 8SE has the biggest one!
All the SE models have the same size eyepieces at 25mm but they all have different magnifications where the 8SE can go up to 81x. Interestingly though, the 4SE got a higher magnification range than the 5SE.
All models are equipped with StarPointer finderscope, have fully computerized hand control and operated by the same software.
Mounting style is the same as well, i.e., motorized Alt-Azimuth and the tripod comes as a pre-assembled steel for all of them.
The 6SE & the 8SE have 40,000 celestial objects in their database that you can look into during your stargazing while the other two models (4SE & 5SE) got 38,181.
With regards to weight, having of course the most amount of hardware, the 8SE is the “heaviest” amongst the four with a weight of 33 pounds.
What stands out the most for the 8SE is its light gathering power of 843x. This capability enables you to see even the faintest object in the sky which will make your stargazing more enjoyable and entertaining.
What Are The Differences Between Celestron NexStar 8SE & Evolution 8?
The most obvious difference between these two telescopes is the color – the 8SE has an orange tube while the NexStar Evolution 8 has a gray tube.
However, If you are thinking about the Celestron Nexstar 8SE vs Evolution 8, we came up with a comparison table below to quickly identify each feature and easily spot the differences!
From the table above, you could see that the 8SE and the Evolution 8 have lots of similarities. They have basically the same single-fork arm alt-azimuth design and optical dimensions.
You could also see that the Evolution 8 have two eyepieces (40 & 13 mm’s) while the 8SE has only one at 25mm. Eyepiece magnification is also different between the two. The tripod for the 8SE is made of steel while the Evolution 8 is made of stainless steel.
Battery requirement is also different with the 8SE powering up with 8 AA batteries (which you need to buy separately) while the Evo 8 has a long-life internal battery included.
The 8SE has a higher maximum slewing speed of 5°/second compare to 4°/second for the Evolution 8. The Evo 8 provides more object database (120,000 ) compare to 8SE’s 40,000 objects.
Weight and price tends to favor the 8SE as it is more than 7 pounds lighter and more or less $400 cheaper over the Evolution 8. The product rating and customer reviews are also better and more favorable towards the 8SE.
How Does the Celestron NexStar 8SE Compare With CPC 800?
While the 8SE is geared towards new and experienced users, the CPC 800 is designed to cater to more advanced users.
Both the 8SE & CPC 800 are of the same optical design, they also have the same aperture size, focal length and focal ratio. They also exhibit other similar technical specs.
However, the main difference between the Celestron NexStar 8SE and the CPC 800 is the design of mounting. Whereas the 8SE is of the single fork arm, the CPC 800 is of the dual type.
The CPC 800 is provided with an adjustable tripod and is designed to be more robust as the weight of the telescope is almost double than the 8SE at 61 pounds.
The CPC 800 is also equipped with an internal GPS receiver that automatically downloads the date, time and location from satellites which makes aligning and finding celestial objects in the sky even easier.
Power requirements are also different. The CPC 800 operates on a 12-V power supply while the 8SE needs 8-AA batteries. The price of the CPC 800 is also higher than the 8SE by about $700.
The additional features of the CPC 800 vs the NexStar 8SE also comes with added cost and weight. If portability is not an issue, then by all means, go with the CPC 800. However, if you shift viewing sites every now and then, you might have to think otherwise.
How Does the Celestron NexStar 8SE Compare With The Meade LX90, LX200?
From our research, the Meade LX90 and LX200 series telescopes are “improved” versions of the 8SE with additional features so we reckon it is not quite fair to compare the 8SE with these models. It is like not comparing apples with apples.
But anyway, we will have an article and review of these Meade telescopes separately for your reference.
However, it is suffice to say that the smallest size that LX90 and LX200 come is 8-inch and they go up to 16” models (12” for the LX90) and both are of the dual-fork style.
With this in mind, you would expect a bigger and sturdier support base and mounting. This increase in hardware will definitely affect the weight and the cost of the telescope.
In a nutshell, the LX90’s and LX200’s are of the dual-fork design with added features with a more solid mounting and tripod (so they are way heavier than the NexStar 8SE). In this case, you’d expect that a LX90 8-inch would costs about $2000 while the LX200 would be about $2700.
How To Align The Celestron NexStar 8SE?
Although “aligning” sounds hard it is practically simple, painless and as easy as 1-2-3! We’ll show you how in the following sections.
Aligning the NexStar 8SE is one of the basic and important step you have to do before using your telescope. Aligning is also the same as “calibrating” your telescope so it could accurately point to different objects in the sky.
In order to do that, the NexStar 8SE must first be aligned to known stars in the sky. Once this is done, the telescope creates a model of the sky which it then uses to locate any object with known coordinates.
There are different methods that you can use to align the NexStar with the sky. It all depends on what information you are able to provide. The list below provide some of those methods and we shall talk about each one of them in the following sections.
- Sky Align
- Auto Two-Star Align
- Two Star Alignment
- One Star Alignment
- Solar System Align
- EQ NORTH/EQ SOUTH Alignment
- StarSense AutoAlign
SkyAlign uses your current date, time and city to create an accurate model of the sky. Then the user can simply point the telescope to any three bright celestial objects to accurately align the telescope with the sky.
AUTO TWO-STAR ALIGN
Auto Two-Star Align will ask the user to choose and center the first alignment star, then the NexStar will automatically select and slew to a second star for alignment.
TWO STAR ALIGNMENT
Two-Star Alignment requires the user to identify and manually slew the telescope to the two alignment stars.
ONE STAR ALIGNMENT
One-Star Align is the same as Two-Star Align however only requires you to align to one known star. Although not as accurate as the other alignment methods, One-Star Align is the quickest way to find and track bright planets and objects in Altazimuth mode.
SOLAR SYSTEM ALIGN
Solar System Align will display a list of visible daytime objects (planets and the moon) available to align the telescope.
EQ NORTH/EQ SOUTH ALIGNMENT
Finally, EQ North and EQ South alignments are designed to assist you in aligning the NexStar when polar aligned using the tripods built-in wedge.
If you don’t want to go through any of the above procedures, an even easier alignment method is available. Simply attach NexStar’s StarSense AutoAlign accessory and your NexStar 8SE aligns itself!
With Celestron’s patented StarSense Technology, telescope alignment has never been easier: set up your telescope, press “Align” on the StarSense hand control, and sit back and relax.
StarSense uses an onboard digital camera to scan the sky and take three pictures. It then analyzes these pictures against an internal database (similar to fingerprint matching) and automatically aligns the telescope. The entire process takes about three minutes, and needs absolutely no user involvement.
What Do Users Say About The Celestron NexStar 8SE?
Hearing from the experience of users is always a great reference and an easy way to actually learn about a product. With this in mind, here are some user comments about the NexStar 8SE:
- “This is an outstanding scope, easy to transport and easy to calibrate.”
- “… The scope has the ability to show most things in the sky. Great aperture and focal length enable you to do it all…”
- “… I was amazed at what I could see just in my backyard in the city with 2 street lights overhead. It was easy to setup and align using the hand controller. You don’t even need to know any names of the objects in the sky to get it setup.”
- “Great price, clarity, ease of use, build quality”
- “Perfect scope for the casual observer. Very easy to setup and use. Images are clear and crisp. Fantastic views of the planets.”
- “It is easy to use and is reasonably portable. The hand controller is user friendly and the scope mount is very stable.”
- “Good optics and construction. I love to take pictures with it. The Go-To feature is awesome.”
- “This is my first telescope, and I have owned it for two years. I have seen all of the Messier’s list, and I am now working on other NGC targets. It has allowed me to see the spiral arms of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51 under dark skies), the polar icecaps of Mars, numerous moons surrounding Saturn and Jupiter, and much more.”
- “The optical tube is great because it has a lot of focal length and aperture…”
- “The mount isn’t too difficult to learn to use. It points and tracks relatively well, but the sync feature helps pointing accuracy increase considerably.”
- “… It isn’t ridiculously heavy. Only 33 to 34 lbs. Most folks can handle that without much problem.”
- “This is a great all-around scope/mount combo. It is a worthy scope for a serious beginner or a seasoned veteran.”
- “…It is certainly easy to move-something that is a huge plus…”
- “I’m an intermediate level user and have owned my NexStar 8 SE for 1.5 years now, having upgraded from a cheap 6″ Newtonian reflector… I’m very happy with my purchase… Optics are okay for an inexpensive Schmidt-Cassegrain.
- “There’s very little maintenance needed for this scope. All the optics are enclosed in the tube… For the NexStar I would recommend getting the optional dew shield, as it improves contrast and keeps dew off your front lens…”
- “The GoTo system is easy to learn. At first it took me awhile to do alignment, but nowadays I can align it in 2-3 minutes. I like using the two star alignment… GoTo isn’t exact but gets you in the ballpark most times with your lowest power eyepiece. Once centered it tracks pretty well. Sometimes you need to hold down the arrow keys a few seconds before the telescope’s gears engage.”
- “…Portability is by far its best feature. This 8″ SCT scope weighs just 33 lbs. It’s a snap to set up and take down. It’s also a lifesaver if you have back problems like I do. Outstanding portability means you will get much use out of it.”
- “Love the scope. Always wanted an ‘orange tube’ Celestron 8 inch scope, ever since I was a kid. The price was right, the service was excellent, and the shipping was precise. No problems with the scope, or its assembly…”
- “This is a great product. I am able to view the night sky easily with this telescope.”
- “Excellent GoTo function and tracking ability. Excellent optics, 250x gives excellent planetary views and even at 400x still very good… Worth the money.”
- “Great Scope! Good for overall use; i.e. deep space and planetary. Strong construction and great optics. Recommended.”
There you are – the general impression from users about the NexStar 8SE is that it is a great telescope! You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re buying a wonderful product.
Product Summary & Conclusion
Inspired by the legendary C8 in 1970, the Celestron NexStar 8SE GoTo Schmidt-Cassegrain computerized telescope is a modern classic with innovative design and advanced features ideal for planetary and deep space viewing and astrophotography.
We have provided in this article a very comprehensive review of the 8SE and its features. We also provided some comparative analysis of the 8SE with other popular telescope brands and models, even laying out tabulated features of each model for your easy reference.
The NexStar 8SE is widely popular for its excellent optics and transportability backed by great reviews from actual satisfied users which means this telescope is really good.
Good looks, compact design, great features, portability and a very competitive price makes the 8SE an overall beauty!
And by the way, there is a 2-year warranty for this product from the manufacturer so you’ll have peace of mind if ever you’ve encountered some issues with it.
We do hope that this article has given you clear insights in your search for information about the NexStar 8SE.