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98 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good telescope.
Found this easy to use. I chose this one to buy as my first telescope after reading several reviews concerning a few different telescopes and comparing prices vs features.

The NexStar 4 SE telescope set up rather quickly. Sky align worked well, though sometimes the scope seemed to become less accurate as the hours went buy, and I tried to re-align to different...
Published on January 20, 2008 by Ken N. Wickham

versus
29 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Response 16!
Be very wary when purchasing this telescope. Although the optics on a Mak are excellent, the mount is terrible.
1. The dovetail mounting does not clamp securely.
2. The electronics are abysmally made, e.g. The wiring and circuit boards constantly short.
3. The Goto operation puts you a few degrees off of what you are searching for, I directly can see...
Published on March 28, 2011 by Zebersoma


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98 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good telescope., January 20, 2008
By 
Ken N. Wickham (Hattiesburg, MS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
Found this easy to use. I chose this one to buy as my first telescope after reading several reviews concerning a few different telescopes and comparing prices vs features.

The NexStar 4 SE telescope set up rather quickly. Sky align worked well, though sometimes the scope seemed to become less accurate as the hours went buy, and I tried to re-align to different stars but eventually I encountered the same alignment results.

The motor does sometimes jump and looses track of objects. Approaching the objects from a certain side seemed to help, as mentioned in the instruction book.

I did have to buy the additional eyepiece/filter kit. Clarity was rather good up to 6mm eyepiece, though the 4mm was pretty blurred, even for moon views.

Although the AC adaptor is a necessity for continuous power, I found out I already had one that fit my telescope from a car seat back massage/heater cushion which also had a car cig adaptor (which I bought for $19.99).

The computer info included in the hand controller is great though some of the 40,000 objects might not be viewable. I had problems finding some nebula and galaxies, maybe that are too faint.

I have seen Andromeda Galaxy, Orion Nebula, great Moon views, a very blurred mars view (cannot see any features), and extremely blurred Uranus (basically just blue color blurred).

I would have given it a 5 out-of 5 had the motor tracking been smoother, alignment stayed accurate. Besides that it met my expectations.
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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Telescope, December 5, 2007
By 
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
This is a great telescope for many reasons. First, it is very easy to use. Most telescopes out there, even if they are computerized, are still difficult to align to the night sky before beginning use. The Nexstar 4SE with the sky align makes it fool proof because you only need to point it to 3 bright objects in the sky with no need to know what they are. One of the easiest ways to align it to the night sky is using a the Solar System Align. If you don't want to choose and point it at 3 bright objects, you can choose the moon. The moon is very easy to spot and easy to point the telescope. To me, this is the easiest alignment of all. After a few minutes setting them up, I found Jupiter easily after using the moon as the alignment object.
Secondly, for the price range, it is very well made and sturdy. Most of the components are metal which appears to make them rigid and durable. A rigid telescope makes them sturdy and shake free. It's 40,000 object database gives you enough things to look at for years and years.
The 4" optics on this is superb and the overall package is well worth the money. It is great for looking at planetary objects and deep sky.
Highly recommended.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Portable Go-to Setup, February 5, 2012
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
This Maksutov-Cassegrain (Mak) go-to package has many good features. It also has some limitations and areas that may be of concern.

I have owned several larger Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes (SCT). Larger equates to superior performance and to more weight and a longer time for the scope to reach ambient temperature when moved outside. This so-called cool-down period stops air currents within the tube from degrading image quality. The smaller the scope the sooner it is ready to use.

The optical alignment (collimation) of the example that I have is very good, typical of what other reviewers noted and of Celestron MCTs in general.MCTs normally do not need any further adjustment which is good, because unlike SCTs, the collimation of a Mak is harder for a user to adjust. If as one reviewer found, your new 4 SE is not collimated (stars not pinpoint, stars having a tail or a seagull wings shape)it is best to return it to the seller and get a replacement.

The red dot finder is now standard on many telescopes. They work just fine for pointing the scope at an alignment star. The tripod is adequate but you must use a delicate touch when focusing the scope.

The 4SE go-to mount is not mechanically identical to the larger 6/8 SE mount, although it looks similar and uses the same hand control. The drive motors and gears are similar to those in the lighter duty SLT series. There are some reports of failure on the web.

Celestron's two-year warranty is very good and they will replace a failed motor or provide a replacement mount. They give priority to warranty claims, but it typically does take about 30 working days for service (not including shipping time). Celestron is now a Chinese owned company (Synta) and all manufacturing takes place in China. Once a product is out of warranty replacement parts may not be easy to get. Celestron does sell some parts on the their web site, but inventory varies. Other parts can be special ordered through a dealer, but expect them to double(!) the price.

The 4SE is a very good scope for visual use; I do not recommend it for astrophotography or astro-video, except for bright objects such as the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and the Orion Nebula. Although the 4 SE mount comes with a built in equatorial wedge which in theory allows for long exposure photos, the wedge is really not very good. Clamp it down tight and forget it. When the wedge is down the mount is an Alt-Az mount. This style of mount is excellent for visual use and for short exposure video. The 4SE however does not always track smoothly; the target sometimes shows tiny hesitations/jumps and while this is acceptable for visual or video use, it would ruin a photograph.

The scope itself is a very nice 4" Mak. Images of Jupiter and the moon are very crisp. The Orion Nebula showed nice detail and the four stars of the Trapezium were sharp. But it is a 4" scope with a central obstruction (the reflective disk on the objective) and that will limit what you can see of fainter objects (deep space objects or DSOs). If you live in urban or suburban skies (bright sky-few stars-no Milky Way) then this is not your scope. You will see many double stars, some in color and the Andromeda Galaxy, but it will be a small bright fuzz ball. Most DSOs will be gray fuzzes. You will be much happier with the NS 6 or 8 SE. The 5SE is another choice. It uses the same mount as the 4SE and is compact but gathers more light. I have a C5 and it works well on the 4SE mount particularly if mounted on a heavy duty tripod.

I live in a suburb not far a large metro area. The Milky Way is visible near the zenith and I can see the brighter stars in the Pleiades Cluster. So why do I own a 4SE-- Portability and video astronomy. My CPC925 is nearly 60lbs to carry and lift onto the tripod and always needs at least some cool down. We get marine weather, it can be very changeable, and that works against setting out the larger scope just on a whim. However, video is equally important.

I purchased a $100 Samsung security camera, a C mount adapter, a .5x reducer and a USB frame grabber. The camera is far more sensitive than the eye and if effect makes the 4SE a larger scope. Now I have a light easy to setup scope that I can view from my recliner on a laptop or on the wall mounted plasma display. How cool is that?

If travel takes me to darker skies, the 4SE goes in the trunk.

The 4SE go-to is the same as on the larger Celestron scopes. In fact initial go-to accuracy was better than the 8SE I used to own. New users are sometimes frustrated with the setup/alignment routine, but give it a chance. The hand controller has an large list of cities you can select for location (you can be some miles away) or you can enter your coordinates (google maps) then enter the time, time zone and date correctly (I will not admit to making this common error more than once). If you don't know any stars by name, select Sky Align and follow the instructions. Sky Align always works if you select three of the brightest stars or the moon, Venus or Jupiter. Avoid stars low in the sky. Sky Align is easy to use in urban and suburban skies.

In summary, the Nexstar 4SE is a very good quality Maksutov-Cassegrain on a good go-to mount and an adequate tripod. The EQ wedge is usable only with great effort or after modification. The mount's drive motors may be a problem. Consider buying replacement motors ($22 each) if you plan to keep the scope longer than two years.

Well collimated with sharp images of some double stars, Jupiter and the moon. Not the best choice for DSOs because of the 4" aperture.

Accesories--

The mount can work from internal batteries, but most find that an AC adapter or car adapter, or a 12V jump start or power tank battery is better.

A dew shield. Buy one or make one (I used Reflctix, spray glue and flat black paint).

Wait for bit before buying eyepieces; use the one that comes with the scope and get to know the mount setup and how things look uneder your sky. Do not rush out and buy an kit with eyepieces and filters. Inexpensive yes, but mostly they will sit unused. The go to a forum such as cloudynights.com. There is a Nexstar forum with folks who can help. Also visit [...].
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Scope, July 6, 2008
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
I purchased the scope from a chain camera shop during a 50% off clearance sale. The scope appears to be well made. The tripod and mounting are solid.

The optics seem pretty good but it has been hard to get a sharp focus on Jupiter and Saturn. Moon viewing has been great. I bought the lens accessory kit as well but have been unable to get a sharp view on the planets.

I have not had much luck with the sky align. Half the time the align fails and when I do get a good alignment it has only been marginal at finding objects. I normally resort to a sky map for navigation. The spotter scope is great when properly aligned to the telescope and it is easy to align. The scope is much better than the Tasco toy scope I had when I was a teen, but I wish I could get a sharp focus on the planets.

Regarding the sharp focus, or lack of it, maybe it is my own eyesight. The scope is a great value.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool toy! (educational, that is :), May 12, 2009
By 
DVB "dVb" (Glastonbury, CT United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
I'm not an astronomy major, neither an expert in optics. Got it for my 10-year old son. I suspected this might be a good product, but couldn't even imagine how great it is, considering all bells and whistles. Now both my son and my husband are hooked. So far their only complains were about weather and seasons. It's too cold outside when its dark in winter and it takes too long to wait for the night time in summer :)
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Scope, October 30, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
The Nexstar 4 SE is a great buy at $499. This is a real telescope, not something bought at a discount store. The Goto tripod works well and is stable. The only thing missing is a low power eyepiece. A 40mm eyepiece would be nice. It comes with a 25mm. Add a 2X barlow or a few other eyepieces and you've got it made. It's small enough to leave set up. I won't call it a grab and go telescope, but it's close. For planetary, lunar, and solar(FOR SOLAR VIEWING YOU MUST BUY A SOLAR FILTER!!! DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT ONE!!! IT WILL BLIND YOU FOREVER!!!) this scope is great. For deep space you'll want something bigger. I'm not saying you can't see deep space objects, you can, but they won't look like pictures from the Hubble.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decide what you want to do with a telescope before buying one, July 31, 2011
By 
Ben "Ben Meyer" (DURBAN, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
I bought this telescope for my 10-year old daughter for the following reasons:
-the built-in database allows us to quickly find objects in the sky. Beginners can't get past this step easily!
-reasonably priced and not too difficult to transport.
-allows some accessories to be added: lenses, camera.
-spend quality time together while learning about the sky and related physics/math. This was my long term plan.
-do some astrophotography.
-ability to see terestrial objects.
In practice it works well and you get a lot for your money, but you will want to buy additional eyepieces.
After some use you will find these unexpected limitations:
-Celestron may not ship certain items to your country. If you lack the imagination to circumvent that then you may be expected to pay a huge surcharge to obtain them locally.
-The gearbox teeth are too coarse for photography. You can see the tracking error when in synch mode (the object jumps in the objective).
-The hand control does not have a real-time clock. This makes setting up painful and I often experience alignment failure.
-Poor alignment when selecting an object. The telescope is a degree off. How is this possible?
-You need a much bigger aperture than 4-inches for astronomy. Save up and start with 8 - 10 inches.
-Battery power from on-board batteries is too low. Use with external power.
-Finder scope should automatically power off after a few minutes otherwise the kids will leave it switched on an the watch battery will die.
-The communication protocol to the device is rather poor. I suspect it was designed by a astronomer instead of an engineer.
-The telescope came with some fibre in the tube. Quality control not as good as I expected.
I am a beginner and still need to try the wedge and begin my walk in astronomy. The problem with astronomy is that the results are dependent on the sum of all the parts e.g. you won't get good photos with a cheap mount. Rather buy the items that will last a lifetime to start with and add to your collection as you can afford. I am looking at buying a 10-inch Meade instead now.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a newbie astronomer, January 11, 2011
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
This is a very nice telescope. While it is only my second, I can tell that it is quality. Everything works well, though there are a few minor problems.

Alignment: Although it really seems like it wants to work, it hasn't for me yet. The interface and setup of alignment is pretty simple, but even when it says "Alignment Successful" and I select "Jupiter" it doesn't get close. But it might be my fault as I am not in a good area, with a lot of trees, so I just selected a couple of dim little stars close together, so maybe that's why. It's really a pain though because every time you turn the telescope on, you have to reset the time and date. Not a huge issue, but it isn't very convenient.

Focusing: Although it's possible to focus very clearly, it is difficult as there is no "Fine Adjustment." There is only a crude adjustment knob. You need a steady hand to get it perfect. It's probably not as bad as I'm making it sound, but okay.

Steadiness: Very good, no problem. You adjust the focus, 1...2....3.....4.....5 and its almost completely still. I'm not sure if that's good or okay as this is my second telescope.

As far as the overall software and handset, it is very straightforward and easy to use. Arrow buttons slew (move) telescope. #6 and 9 scroll through options up and down, and on the other numbers, there are more options like planets and such.
The telescope (despite being fairly powerful) only comes with one 25 eyepiece. You may be disappointed with your telescope if you do not purchase separate eyepieces. The Celestron eyepiece kit thing seems really good. Celestron Accessory Kit

UPDATE: I've had this telescope for quite a while now and I'm happy to say that I have managed to get it to align properly. The only alignment method that's worked great for me was the Solar System Align which allows you to choose any Solar System object (like the moon) and work off of that. It does work well and while what I slew to may not be perfectly centered in the eyepiece, it's still pretty close and you can adjust it with the remote control. Also I found the tracking to be very handy and accurate for at least an hour before the object drifts off. I highly recommend this as a telescope for a young astronomer or as a starter's telescope.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A terrific starter scope that will help you learn about the sky ..., June 7, 2014
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
I have had many types and sizes of telescopes since the 90s. Large dobsonians, an 11 inch SCT, small refractors, etc. I have had this particular telescope since 2007. It is great as a "grab and go" visual telescope, particularly for solar system viewing, so you can use it to see the moon, planets (and many of their moons), comets, and the sun (with a solar filter!). It has a long focal length (f/13), so it is not really designed for photography, it is designed for looking at brighter objects. It does this quite well. The moon is simply gorgeous through this telescope, as are Jupiter and Saturn with it's beautiful rings. Mars and Venus are quite good as well. I do not notice any chromatic aberration or discoloration to speak of when viewing bright objects, either. Just very sharp, clear images. The cloud belts on Jupiter are quite discernable, along with its four Galilean moons. Setting the scope up is about as easy as it gets for any telescope.

As mentioned by other posters, this telescope is not designed or intended for astrophotography, though I am impressed with the shots that a lot of people have gotten with webcams and even 35mm dslr cameras attached. Planetary and lunar images are VERY short exposures - fractions of a second. You don't want long exposures with solar system photos, or the pictures are just overexposed. I've even seen a few pictures of the brightest DSOs taken with this, like the Orion nebula, but it would be pretty tough to do and you would have to be in a very dark location to get it accomplished.

This is an excellent telescope for those wanting to learn about astronomy and for those who want beautiful, crisp solar system viewing. Even after seven years, I still take it out when I'm in a hurry to enjoy the sky.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased, February 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope (Electronics)
This is my first "real" telescope and it has introduced me to astronomy with no reservations or regret, other than I became so hooked after using it for just a few days that I went out and bought an 8" SCT on a much larger mount.

This wasn't because of any limitation on the 4SEs part, but actually because it was so good. The first night I had it, I casually set it up and slewed manually to what I thought might be Jupiter. Whamo! It was Jupiter and for the first time in my life, I saw it with its bands, etc. The image was far better than I thought a 4" scope would give. I became instantly obsessed with doing deep-space astrophotography and knew that was asking just too much of the 4SE, so I ordered the bigger scope not to replace, but as a compliment.

Aside from its quality (the construction is very robust, although I did run around and tighten all of the bolts holding the arm to the base, etc.), the scope's real strength is its portability. I can carry the whole thing out to the backyard from inside in about five minutes and within ten-fifteen I have a good alignment and am ready to go. Taking it back inside is even easier.

As a visual scope it's just great. I have done some decent astrophotography of the moon but find that getting a good focus is really difficult. Part of that is because I am using a mirrorless camera (micro-4/3rds) and part of that is that the mount, while robust, isn't strong enough to keep the scope from shaking while the focus knob is turned. It's very hard to focus a shaking image.

Pros: Great Value for the money.
Well built
Great optics
Great / easy set up and alignment. I find that it tracks the planets very well, drifting out of the finder only about every half hour or so (i.e. a centered planet will drift out of the finder in tracking mode by about 30 minutes). The moon seems to stay centered forever.
Built-in camera port and internal dividing mirror means you can easily switch from photography to visual just by flipping the mirror knob.
Nice, sturdy, tripod.

Cons: f13 aperture. Not as fast as I would like.
Focus shake and backlash/sloppyness in the focus mechanism
Gear backlash means that reversing direction takes a while before the slop is taken back up
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Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope
$499.00
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