Discover the Celestron NexStar 8SE in our in-depth review! Uncover its features, performance, and whether it's the telescope for you.

The Celestron Nexstar 8SE is one of the best-selling and most popular telescopes. This telescope is the top model from Celestron’s iconic orange tube-designed SE series telescopes. The telescope is loaded with many features and provides the best stargazing experience for beginners and advanced astronomers. This telescope is known for its superb optics and exceptional performance. So in this article, we will cover almost everything about this telescope. So by the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to decide whether this telescope is the right choice for you.

Celestron NexStar 8SE


Optical Design:Schmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture:203.2mm (8″)
Focal Length:2032mm (80″)
Focal Ratio:f/10
Mount Type:Computerized Single-fork AZ mount
Payload capacity:12 lbs (5.44 kg)
Total Kit Weight:24 lbs (10.88 kg)

Celestron NexStar 8SE mount

When I first picked up the mount, I felt it was a little heavier, but then I got used to it very quickly. It is not that heavy.

For any telescope, the mount is one of the most important parts. If the mount of your telescope is not good, then your optical tube assembly is kind of useless. The mount of this telescope is an Alt-Azimuth mount. But as it is a computerized go-to telescope, this mount can track an object. If you use a wedge, then this mount can be converted into an equatorial mount.

The 4SE and 5SE models have built-in wedges. But 6SE and 8SE mounts do not have the built-in wedge, and you have to buy it separately if you want to use this mount as an EQ mount. The mount has a database of 40,000 celestial objects. This computerized mount needs a 12V power supply. You can also power this mount by using 8 AA batteries.

Celestron NexStar 8se OTA (Optical Tube)

The optical tube, however, looks slightly big and heavy, but it is very lightweight. A normal person can easily carry the optical tube without any difficulties. The 8” optical tube is coated with Celestron’s in-house StarBright XLT coatings for maximum light throughput.

The optical tube has a focal length of 10, but it also comes with Fastar technology. This means that you can remove the secondary mirror of the OTA and put the camera there. With this, the focal length will reduce, which is usually good for deep-space long-exposure astrophotography. This is one of the best optical tubes you will find in the Schmidt Cassegrain telescopes.

Celestron Nexstar 8se tripod

The tripod, made of aluminum, is very sturdy and looks like it can easily handle the telescope and mount weight. This tripod is for regular use, and the NexStar 6SE and 8SE models use the same tripods.

Celestron Nexstar 8SE accessories

The accessories you get with the telescope are a 12v charger, a star diagonal, a red dot finder, a 25 mm Plossl eyepiece, a level checker for the tripod and mount, cleaning liquid, and a cloth for cleaning optical parts. You also get an eyepiece tray to attach to your tripod.

NexStar 8SE accessories

The other extra accessories you should buy for this telescope are as follows:

A battery pack: If you take this telescope to remote locations, then you will need this extra battery pack to power this telescope.

Wedge: If you want to convert this telescope mount into an equatorial mount, then you’ll need to buy a wedge.

Phone adapter: If you want to capture photos with the phone, then you will also need a good phone adapter.

Anti-Vibration Pads: The telescope vibrates while slewing you can reduce these vibrations with the help of anti-vibration pads.

Celestron Tabletop Tripod: This is the tripos made especially for travel and road trips. Also observing for kids is easier with this tripod.

How to assemble the Celestron Nexstar 8SE

To assemble the telescope. First, open the tripod. Remove the lock nut and the washer, put the eyepiece tray in, put the washer back in, and tighten the lock nut. Make sure that each end of the eyepiece tray is touching each leg of the tripod. If it’s not touching the leg and not tightly fixed, then your tripod may not feel sturdy, and it might cause leveling issues when you put a mount and optical tube on it.

If you adjust the tripod’s height, then you need to put this level checker on top of the tripod and adjust the tripod’s height accordingly. Once the height is set, the next step is to fix the mount on the tripod.

On top of this tripod, three screws pass through the tripod plate. There is also a pin at the center to fix the mount. Similarly, there are three holes at the bottom of the mount to fix the screws. At the bottom of the mount, there is a hole in the center to locate and fix the pin in the center of the mount. This helps you fix the mount on the tripod.

Assembling the optical tube with the mount.

The optical tube has a dovetail to attach it to any mount. On the mount, there is a notch to fit the dovetail of the optical tube. First, you need to loosen this screw on the mount head, then slide the dovetail inside the notch of the mount, and then tighten the screw.

Make sure that when you attach the optical tube, the Celestron Nexstar 8SE is completely visible from the side. This way, you can be sure that the eyepiece won’t touch the mount when your telescope is pointed straight up.

Attach the accessories to NexStar 8SE.

To fix the red dot finder, you have to loosen the two screws at the bottom of the finder and then just slide it on its stand.

Next is the 90-degree star diagonal. Just loosen the two screws and then fix the star diagonal. Finally, you put the eyepiece on the star diagonal, and you are done with assembling your telescope. Because of the star diagonal, you will see left-to-right reversed images of an object.

Just plug in the power supply, and your telescope is ready for use.

What can you see with the Nexstar 8SE?

This is mainly a visual telescope. With this telescope, you can see the planets and some bright deep-space objects. You can see the Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn etc through this telescope. With deep space, you can see the Orion Nebula, Andromeda galaxy, etc.

Celestron NexStar 8se telescope Astrophotography (Pictures/Images)

The telescope is good at tracking the planets and nearby objects. You can do planetary astrophotography with this telescope. You can also track some bright deep-space objects. The tracking is good on the telescope.

This is how Jupiter looks.

This is how Saturn looks.

This is how the moon looks through this telescope.

Without zooming in, you can see the sharp images of the moon.

What about deep space astrophotography?

The single fork mount is just a variation of an alt-azimuth mount. So it has some limitations if you want to track for a longer duration.

If you want to learn what different types of mounts are, then check out this playlist for all the details on the basics of telescopes. In this playlist, you will find all the basic concepts about the telescope, focal length, focal ratio, aperture, eyepieces, mounts, etc.

Now, if you want to do deep-space long-exposure astrophotography, then you will need a good equatorial mount. You can fix the optical tube of this telescope on that mount, and then you can do the long-exposure deep-space astrophotography.

Is the Celestron NexStar 8SE worth it?

The answer is an absolute yes, 100% go for it. If you have the budget and are serious about astronomy, then definitely go for this telescope. You will not be disappointed.
It is very lightweight when you compare it with the similar-aperture-size Dobsonian telescope.

When you use a manual telescope, the object quickly goes out of your field of view, and you need to move the telescope again to get the object back into your field of view. While using this telescope, you don’t need to worry about tracking the object. The tracking with this telescope is good. If you point at Saturn and just leave the hand controller, the telescope will keep tracking Saturn, and it will try to keep it in your field of view all the time.

Is NexStar 8SE good for beginners?

The telescope is very beginner-friendly. So even if you have never touched a telescope before, it will not take you a long time to get used to this one. The only thing a beginner needs to know is whether they are going to pursue this hobby for the long term.

If yes, then buying the 8SE is the best thing you can do, as this telescope will last you for 10–15 years.

If not, then investing so much money when you are not sure about the hobby does not make any sense. 

Is the Celestron NexStar 8SE better than the NexStar 6SE?

If you buy a NexStar 6SE, then eventually you will want to buy an 8SE model. The 8SE has almost 40% more light-gathering capacity than the NexStar 6SE.

If you have less budget, then you can also go for the 6-inch version of this telescope. The only difference between the 6-inch and 8-inch telescopes is the optical tube. Everything else the mount and the tripod is exactly the same. So the NexStar 6SE will also be a good choice. Also, the cost difference between the 6-inch and 8-inch models is $300–400. You will not regret spending those extra $400.

So if your budget allows, then go for NexStar 8SE; it is definitely better than NexStar 6SE. If not, then go for NexStar 6SE.

Watch the Celestron NexStar 8SE Unboxing and Full Review

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