Though pricey, the Celestron NexStar 6SE is well worth the money. It is one of the best telescopes for amateur astronomers looking to take their hobby to the next level.
The Celestron NexStar 6SE is a great choice for beginner and amateur astronomy enthusiasts looking for a computerized telescope.
The NexStar 6SE is one of the more expensive amateur astronomy telescopes you can buy. It’s also one of the most advanced.
It comes with a computerized alignment and tracking system that makes it easy to explore the skies.
The 150mm (6 inches) aperture allows the telescope to collect plenty of light; enough to give you close up views of the moon and planets and panoramic views of deep space galaxies and star clusters.
Read on for my full review.
Celestron Nexstar 6SE review
What are you buying?
1. 6” Planetary and deep space telescope
All the high-tech computerized stuff aside, the Celestron NexStar 6SE is a very capable telescope thanks to the ultra-wide 6” aperture.
It’s great for planetary and lunar observations. Paired with the right eyepiece, you can see the cloud bands on Jupiter, the rings on Saturn and even craters on the moon.
It can also go beyond the solar system. Using the included wide-angle 25mm eyepiece, you can see galaxies, nebulae and star clusters deep in space.
The NexStar 6SE uses high quality optics to prevent distortions and keep the image sharp, whether you are looking at the moon’s surface or the Andromeda galaxy.
If you are looking for a versatile telescope that’s good enough for lunar, planetary and deep space observations, I highly recommend the Celestron NexStar 6SE.
Now, about the high-tech stuff…
2. Computerised alignment and tracking
With a basic telescope, it’s up to you to find objects in the sky by manually swinging the telescope mount right and left, up and down. Tracking objects as they drift is also an all-manual, and sometimes tedious, process.
The Celestron NexStar 6SE’s computerized system makes all that easy so that you can focus on enjoying the amazing views.
You’ll need to first align the system before you can use it. It comes with two tools to help you do it: the SkyAlign that’s accessible on the control pad and a finderscope attached to the telescope.
Once you are through the initial set up – which takes about 10-20 minutes – subsequent set ups will be faster. You just need to enter the date and time.
Once you’ve aligned the telescope, you can track objects in the sky using the directional buttons on the control. The motorised mount turns smoothly in whatever direction you want.
If you are not sure what to look for, press the SkyTour button and the hand control will show you currently visible objects (depending on your location, date and time).
Once you press enter, the mount will automatically turn the telescope to the right spot in the sky.
When I say portable, I don’t mean that you can pack the NexStar 6SE in a bag and carry it with you when hiking. It’s a bit too bulky and heavy for that.
But it’s still small enough to fit in the trunk or back seat of any car. It conveniently breaks down into separate pieces for easier transport.
If you are looking for a travel telescope, the NexStar 6SE is a bit bigger and heavier than basic non-computerized telescopes but it’ll easily fit in your car. Once you get where you are going, it’s easy and quick to set up.
How easy is it to use?
Don’t be intimidated by the computerized system. It actually makes the telescope much more beginner-friendly.
Setting up takes time but it’s easy. You just need to be patient and follow all the instructions.
Once you’ve set it up, you’ll have an easy time finding and tracking objects in the sky. I love the automatic tour feature; it’s great for astronomy noobs like us who have no idea where to begin.
The telescope automatically swings around to show you the most interesting objects.
Over time, you can take more control as you learn where different objects are located.
What accessories are included?
Here’s what included with the Celestron NexStar 6SE computerized telescope.
25” 25mm eyepiece
Computerized Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm mount
Note that you need 8 AA batteries to power the computerized mount and hand controller. Batteries are not included with the telescope.
You don’t need batteries, at least initially, for the finderscope. It comes with its own batteries.
Celestron Nexstar 6SE Pros and cons
Wide aperture for planetary, lunar and deep space observations.
Computerized mount makes alignment and tracking easy.
High quality images.
Heavier and bulkier than basic non-computerized telescopes.
Initial set up takes time.
Anything else you should know?
While the NexStar 6SE comes with several handy accessories including a 25mm eyepiece, you can add more accessories to get more out of it.
Some of the available options from Celestron include:
A portable power supply for the telescope. Ideal for frequent travellers.
StarSense AutoAlign – a module that eliminates the long alignment process. You’ll be up and ready to observe in minutes.
SkyPortal WiFi Module – allows you to control the telescope remotely from your smartphone or tablet.
SkySync GPS – improves alignment speed and accuracy. No need to enter date and time every time you use the telescope.
Skyris camera – a great accessory for astrophotography.
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.