Celestron NexStar 8SE Computerized Telescope
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Celestron NexStar 8SE Computerized Telescope
The Celestron NexStar 8SE is the most popular 8-inch computerized telescope on the market, especially for beginner astronomy. Use it for both deep space and planetary astrophotography at the touch of a button. Its aperture (the internal part of the telescope that captures light) is powerful enough to provide spectacular views of the Moon, planets, deep-sky objects like the Whirlpool Galaxy and the Hercules Globular Cluster.
Celestron Nexstar 8SE Top 3 Features
- A fully automated GoTo mount, with a database of 40,000 plus celestial objects, will automatically locate and track objects for you.
- SkyAlign technology gets your telescope aligned and ready to observe in minutes. For beginners, easily set up your telescope on any three bright objects in the sky.
- Its unique single fork arm design and sturdy steel tripod can be disassembled and reassembled into separate components for easy transport.
Using the Celestron NexStar 8SE Visually
A 1.25-inch visual back (where you can attach accessories), 1.25-inch Mirror diagonal (helps you see the image upright) and a 1.25-inch 25 mm Plossl eyepiece (where the light comes through) comes standard with this telescope.
This eyepiece and diagonal combination will make the Moon (its width is about the size of the U.S.A.) appear 81x bigger than your naked eye! The 25 mm eyepiece is great for beginners because of its medium level of brightness and a mid-range magnification (how much detail it captures).
One eyepiece is not enough to give you the best viewing experience with this telescope, so you get four additional eyepieces for no additional cost!
The TPO ND Filter is a must-have accessory when viewing the moon because the moon can get so bright that it can feel like you are shining a flashlight into one of your eyes. The TPO ND filter will darken the image of the moon so that it will be comfortable to view all night long.
The TPO 40 mm Plossl Eyepiece is a great eyepiece for a bright and wide field of view (how much it can capture at once). Its wide field of view makes it easy and quick to find large and faint objects, we recommend you use this first. When paired with a 2x Barlow it works like a mid-range magnification eyepiece.
The TPO 15 mm Eyepiece is a medium-high magnification eyepiece. This eyepiece is ideal for looking at the fine details of nebulae or galaxies. Pair it with a 2x Barlow to get some of the best views of planets.
The TPO 2x Barlow is an extremely useful tool. When used, it will double the magnification of any eyepiece that you put inside of it. This vastly extends the versatility of your three eyepieces to give you six eyepieces.
Check out the simulated view below to see how each eyepiece, when combined with a 2x Barlow, affects what see.
Astrophotography with the Celestron Nexstar 8SE
With planetary imaging cameras starting as low as $85, you'll be taking planetary images in no time. They are lightweight and will fit right into the 1.25-inch barrel of your telescope so you don’t need any special parts to get started. We recommend using the 2x Barlow that’s included with the NexStar 8SE to get the maximum resolution possible.
Here are some cameras we recommend:
Deep Space Imaging
The NexStar 8SE is capable of taking deep space photos with a few additional accessories. A wedge can convert the Alt-Azimuth mount into an equatorial fork (a fork-shaped tool that holds the optical tube between it and above the mount) giving it the ability to take exposures for more than 30 seconds. This will capture the faintest details in galaxies and nebulae. Check out the image below! It was taken with the Nexstar 8SE on a wedge with a Pentax K DSLR.
The Celestron NexStar 8SE for DSLRs & Telescope Cameras
If you want to use this telescope with a Canon, Nikon, or Sony E-mount APS-C sized DSLRs, or a dedicated CCD/CMOS Telescope camera, you will need several accessories.
For CCD/CMOS Deep Space Telescope Cameras, most will fit the threads of the rear of the Celestron t-adapter. Depending on the model of camera you are using you will likely need to add additional spacers. To have it come to focus, you need to make sure that the camera sensor is spaced 55 mm from the back of the threads of the T-adapter.
If you need any help with this feel free to contact us.
All-Star Polar Alignment
Get ready for a night of astroimaging with your mount faster than previously thought possible with All-Star Polar Alignment. This innovative software solves the time-consuming problem of trying to pinpoint the North Celestial Pole.
This telescope control software replaces the hand control and allows the user to remotely control their Celestron computerized telescope from their personal PC or laptop.
SkyAlign alignment technology makes setting up a computerized telescope simple, fast, and accurate. Just point the telescope at any three bright objects — stars, bright planets, or even the Moon — and your telescope can orient itself with the night sky.
The new Lithium Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery chemistry has significant advantages over other battery chemistries, great for those Astronomers on the go.
Celestron’s patented StarSense Technology makes it easier than ever to locate objects in the night sky, even if you’ve never used a telescope before. Turn it on and push ‘Align.’ In about three minutes, you’re ready to observe!
WiFi technology encircles the globe in a web of connectivity, knowledge, and information. Now, Celestron is using that same technology to allow stargazers to connect to the night sky and enhance their experience of the cosmos in fun and unique ways.
|Aperture||203 mm (8")|
|Camera/Eyepiece Connection||1.25" Nosepiece|
|Dawes Limit||0.57 arcseconds|
|Drive Type||DC Servo motors|
|Encoder Resolution||.26 arc sec|
|Encoder Type||Onboard DC Motors|
|Focal Length||2032 mm|
|Light Gathering Power||841x|
|Slew Speed||5 Degrees Per Second|
|Tracking Rates||EQ North|
|Tracking Rates||EQ South|
|Tripod Weight||10 lbs|
|Tube Weight||12.5 lbs|
|Warranty||2 Year Warranty|
- 8-inch NexStar SE Schmidt-Cassegrain OTA.
- NexStar SE Mount: Motorized Alt-Azimuth/ GoTo.
- Tripod with Adjustable Steel Legs.
- Accessory Tray.
- NexStar+ Hand Controller.
- 1.25-inch Star Diagonal.
- 1.25-inch, 25 mm Eyepiece.
- TPO 15 mm Eyepiece.
- TPO 40 mm Eyepiece.
- TPO 2x Barlow.
- TPO ND Filter.
- StarPointer Optical Finderscope (Red Dot).
- Mini-USB Port.
- Insert Card w/ Starry Night Software.
- 2 Year Warranty.
I am going to try to return this. IT won’t align.
Love the scope OPT was good to deal with did a good job. Only complaint is it’s harder to set up than I had hoped!
As an amateur astronomer I find the equipment easy to mount and robust. The handset control and motorized mount easy to use as well. With the included eyepiece the image is quite good and sharp but limited to an 80x magnification. I also bought the 8-25 eyepiece to have more magnification. Note that the handset control was not anymore working after two days, it showed a boot loader error 80, but after upgrading the firmware (using an rs232 cable and the firmware manager software available on the Celestron website) it is now again operating perfectly.
I bought the Nexstar 8SE with astronomy outreach in mind, and it has met and exceeded my expectations. I was originally carting around a 10" Dob to show kids and their families the night sky in the L.A. area. Though it had good light gathering ability, it was very bulky and had no tracking ability, requiring me to move the scope each time someone had a look through it, especially when viewing planets at high power. I thought about adding a tracking wedge, but that just added to the bulk issue. After much research I decided on the Nexstar 8SE, and I'm very glad that I did. For outreach it is the best scope I have found, lightweight, reasonably steady, excellent tracking and superb optics. The 8SE blows my 10" dob out of the water when it comes to viewing planets, the optical quality is much better and the tracking allows you to take in the planet for as long as you want. In a dark sky the 8SE is about on par with my 10" dob. I could not notice an appreciable difference when viewing M51, both showed traces of spiral arms, other galaxies were similar as well; with half the weight and much less bulk compared to the 10" dob, go-to and tracking ability, the 8SE is by far the winner. Even though Celestron does not really tout the imaging ability of this scope, I have had some success (I've included some shots I made with a webcam and DSLR). I bought a used SE wedge, and with some technical work around, practice and patience I can get very good polar alignment, go to accuracy and tracking. If you're looking for a scope mainly for imaging, this is not the scope for you; but if you want a excellent, portable, all purpose scope for visual use, and will maybe dabble in photography, I haven't found anything better than the 8SE.
First, I want to stipulate that I have not used this product for imaging. Thus, my review concerns only the visual aspect of astronomy. I purchased this unit four years ago to use as one of my primary scopes. I expected it to perform all the duties required for planetary and DSO observing. I was also interested in it's ability to find and track objects, though that was a secondary concern. In most cases it performed as expected. First, it provides excellent views of all planetary objects. Even without considering the large secondary mirror's obstruction, the scope has consistently produced great views of the planets. Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn give up much detail. The views of all are above average for the 8" aperture. One cannot complain. Views of DSOs are of similar quality. Various globular clusters, open clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are very detailed and clear. Again, one cannot complain about the images provided by this scope. In short the optical quality is excellent However, there are problems: The most obvious is an annoying amount of image shift that occurs when one attempts to bring objects into critical focus. The problem increases in significance proportionate to the increase in magnification. This is a common problem with any SCT, and I believe the Celestron SE8 is better than most. However, that does not mean it is acceptable. By far my biggest complaint is with the mount. First, even though it appears to be a flimsy mount especially with the design of the single arm support, that is not a problem. Vibrations seem to occur and increase in relationship to the extension of the legs. This is a good indication that the tube is under mounted. This problem can be over come by limiting the extension of or not extending the legs. Another odd problem concerns the legs. For whatever reason, they tend to work loose from the mount. One night while preparing to observe one of the legs literally fell out of the housing I had to wrap the legs with electrical tape in an effort to bring stability to the mount. This fix worked. There are also problems that occur as one attempts to initiate the computer system.At times I have received the dreaded alignment failure message when I was sure I had followed proper procedure. More problematic is the mount's tracking accuracy. Often, I have had to adjust tracking or an object would have drifted out of view. This problem is further compounded by the before mentioned image shift. It should be noted that when the mount is properly aligned, it finds objects without a problem. Another small problem concern the strangely engineered power cord input. The centered pin is not wide enough to provide the needed friction required to hold the cord in place. The result is an unanticipated and infuriating loss of power as the cord looses contact. I have been able to fix this problem by forcing open the tip of the pin with a pen knife. However, one has to be careful when working this fix as not to overly open the pin. Taken by themselves these problems are not much more of a problem. However as a whole they tend to take away from and even interfere with the pleasure of observing. The tube itself is of such high quality, it is disappointing to see the problems produced by the mount. Still when I consider the entire package I still like this scope/mount combo. Why? Because the views are so dramatic. When one can get the mount to properly track, and learn to compensate for it's short comings, the problems with it are indeed tolerable. Finally, the price is very attractive. Thus, I can recommend the scope/mount combo, but with some reservations. Beware of unwanted vibrations and remember, the tube deserves better.
After ordering my scope on March 2, 2012, my scope arrived undamaged on March 8, 2012. I also received a few extra goodies from a package deal I had noticed on another site and OPT matched it. OPT came through with flying colors and I am already buying extra accessories from them. I will soon be buying more eyepieces and eventually the Meade 12 LX90 GoTo. OPT is the place to go for all your astro needs. (I was not paid to say that. I just got back in from observing for about 2 hours in 32° weather. I must say, the 8SE performed beyond my expectations. The alignment was a little off, probably because I did not level the scope prior to aligning, but I will be more careful in the future. But it wasn't a major factor as I was only interested in two things: Mars and Saturn. The collimation was spot on, both inside and outside of focus were perfect concentric rings. The drive worked great, keeping both objects in the field of view for well over 30 minutes each. I would go inside my car to warm up when my fingers got cold and when I went back, the object was still in the center of view. Now on to the optics. Mars was simply superb! I could see the white of the north polar cap, Syrtis Major, Uchronia, Utopia, Mare Boreum and many other features. I was using a Magenta filter in an Orion 4 filter wheel, the other filters were light blue, yellow and green. Although there was an occasional wind gust around 10mph, the scope quickly settled down and viewing resumed. Mere words cannot express how well the scope performed on Mars. Just Awesome will have to do. Saturn was equally impressive. I saw 3 moons for sure and suspected 2. But the moon was only 15° away, so it hampered further scrutiny of the moons visible. Using a green filter, I observed a split band and a slight hint of a polar hood on Saturn. I could clearly see rings A, B and C, with c being a gossamer wisp near the planet itself. Cassini's division was visible. I could see the shadow of the planet itself on the rings and I noticed limb darkening. The scope really did a great job on Saturn. I would have to say I am very pleased with how the scope performed this night on Mars and Saturn. I was only able to go out after a brief snow squall came through. I missed Jupiter and Venus of because of this. I should mention that I was observing from my apartment's parking lot under the full glare of not fewer than 3 sodium spotlights. I thank Celestron for a great product. It is too bad they only make the 11 OTA, I cannot lift the 14 and it is too expensive for me to buy, which means I will be buying the Meade 12 LX90 in the near future. I thank OPT for offering great customer service from Tanya and their constant ability to answer my questions when I had some to ask. Great job OPT!