A great little scope for a serious beginner, the Celestron NexStar 4SE will provide everything you want from your stargazing outings: the ability to instantly locate stars and planets, a good crisp image, and a strong tripod which won’t wave about in the breeze.
When you first get into stargazing, chances are you start out with a fairly basic, inexpensive telescope. This is very sensible – what if you spend loads of money then discover the hobby is not for you? Of course you’ll get bitten by the bug though, who are we kidding!
So, you’ve realised you want to get more into astronomy and you want to upgrade your telescope. Imagine you don’t know all that much about what to buy, so you’re looking for an all-encompassing, easy to use great computerised scope that can give you those awesome shots you’ve been looking for. Well, you’ve just found that scope!
Celestron NexStar 4SE review
What are you buying?
This is a ready to go telescope that you can use right out of the box, without hours of lengthy setting up and preparation before you hit the skies. This makes it ideal for a beginner or a child – or just the impatient among us!
You will receive a pre-assembled telescope (perfect if you’re relatively new to the game and are not sure the best way to set it up), a 25mm eyepiece, a red dot finder scope, an adjustable tripod, astronomy software, an RS232 cable, a camera shutter cable, a computerised hand control, a manual and a quick set-up guide.
How easy is it to use?
This telescope is basically foolproof. I found it extremely easy to set up, and the whole process from unpackaging to being ready to view the night sky took about 40 minutes. Even setting up in the dark is a breeze (but you should give it a go in the daylight first, so that you know what you are doing when you get to the moment of truth, as it were).
The instructions included in the kit are easy to follow, and getting the GoTo and SkyAlign set up sorted is simple and took around 20 minutes. It helps that SkyAlign is fully automated, but you must be sure to use the red dot finder to locate the stars, not the scope itself.
What accessories do you get?
You get quite a lot of kit included with this scope! The GoTo mount is invaluable, in my opinion, as it gives you a database of over 40,000 stars, galaxies, nebulae and clusters from which you can choose anything you want to look at. The NexStar SE will locate whatever you want to look at, with amazing accuracy!
The red dot finder is also a great accessory, and you will receive a good eyepiece so you can get straight out there and start viewing without having to buy extra new kit on top of the Celestron NexStar 4se. The included 4” primary mirror has enough light-gathering properties to view details on the moon, Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s cloud banks, and even deeper sky objects.
Celestron NexStar 4SE Pros and cons!
Perfect grab and go scope – This one is ideal for those who don’t want to spend hours setting up.
Ideal for beginners and kids – It’s great to be able to introduce a newbie, however old, to astronomy with a piece of kit that will give them great result and encourage future stargazing.
Strong and sturdy – With its well made adjustable tripod and rugged design, this one is ideal for stargazing just about anywhere.
Small enough to take adventuring with you – It’s relatively small stature makes this scope the ideal travelling companion.
The battery life isn’t great – Bear this in mind if you are in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting more, to avoid frustration.
Small aperture means less detail – You will see perfect detail of the moon, but may struggle to see very crisp features further away.
The NexStar breaks down into several pieces, making it very easy to transport. A little tip – keep hold of some of the packaging it will arrive in, as it is perfect for carrying your scope about! It is also very useful for taking it on a plane as professional carry-on luggage.
If an attractive scope floats your boat you will love this one – it comes in Celestron’s signature burnt orange colour, so you will stand out from the crowd (which isn’t always easy in the dark!)
A great little scope for a serious beginner (like his bigger brother Celestron NexStar 6SE), the Celestron NexStar 4SE will provide everything you want from your stargazing outings: the ability to instantly locate stars and planets, a good crisp image, and a strong tripod which won’t wave about in the breeze.
What more could you want? Oh, you want it to be free? Sadly the best things in life cost a few pennies, and this one is no exception! But it is an investment into your astronomy journey, so you won’t regret putting your hand in your pocket too much for this one.
Jack Bennett is the founder and editor of Stargazing in the UK. He lives in London and have started this blog about stargazing and amateur astronomy for beginners to keep track of his attempts to explore the Universe.