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Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope
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- The world’s most beloved telescope! The classic, 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain revolutionized amateur astronomy in the 1970s. Now, the iconic “orange tube” design is updated with all the latest features to provide the best stargazing experience for beginners and experienced observers alike.
- Large, 8-inch aperture with excellent light-gathering ability provides spectacular views of the Moon and planets, along with deep sky objects like the Whirlpool Galaxy and Hercules Globular Cluster.
- Fully automated, GoTo mount with database of 40,000+ celestial objects automatically locates and tracks objects for you. Alignment Procedures : SkyAlign, Auto 2-Star Align, 1-Star Align, 2-Star Align, Solar System Align
- SkyAlign technology gets your telescope aligned and ready to observe in minutes. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the night sky, you can easily align your telescope on any three bright objects.
- Unique single fork arm design and sturdy steel tripod all break down into separate components for easy transport and quick assembly.
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StarBright XLT high transmission coatings SkyAlign allows alignment on any three bright celestial objects, making for a rapid, efficient alignment process. It then functions as a 'go-to' system accepting commands through the handset and pointing the optical assembly toward any one of nearly 40,000 objects stored in its database. Using the (optional) CN-16 GPS accessory connection and an external GPS (not included), alignment is entirely automatic. NexRemote telescope control software and RS-232 cable included for advanced control of the telescope with a PC StarPointer finderscope helps with alignment and locating objects Flash-upgradeable hand control software and motor control units by way of downloadable updates Robust, computerized altazimuth mount Star Diagonal internal flip mirror for straight or 90-degree viewing angle. May also be used to rapidly switch from the eyepiece to a camera without disturbing telescope alignment Exceptionally sturdy steel tripod for long service and rapier-sharp astrophotography
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Problems with the mount:
1. Battery compartment: Lots of space taken up for batteries, but batteries only work for a few minutes. This thing eats batteries, and doesn't come with a power cord! Further, the battery compartment design is poor, with two battery holders dangling by their wires. The battery holders must be placed a certain way after batteries are installed into them. There's only one way to place the battery holders and still be able to close the compartment cover, but there are a few ways to place the battery holders incorrectly. If you want to be able to close the battery compartment, you'll probably have to look up the instructions on the internet. You'll need to by the optional AC power cord (which is what I did since I'm always observing within an extension cord's length of an electrical outlet), or the 12V cord along with a 12V battery in order to use this scope.
2. Noise: I know everything seems louder at night... in the dark... when you're supposed to be quiet. But slewing at moderate to fast speed with this thing is like a freight train coming down the tracks. It's not a problem if you're not near anyone, but the many times I've been in my backyard or up at the lake with this scope, I've worried about disturbing neighbors.
3. No clutch in azimuth: This means you can't move the mount in a sideways direction without using the power-hungry, fantastically noisy motor. You can move the mount in altitude manually, but not in azimuth. Truly a bummer.
4. Spur gears: There's a lot of slop in the gears, so when you begin to slew the scope it often doesn't actually begin to move for a short period of time. No big deal, but it's annoying.
5. Time isn't saved: As others have mentioned, having to enter the time each time you turn on the mount is just ridiculous.
6. Cheap hand controller: The screen on my hand controller came loose and tilted within a couple of weeks of use. LCD screen doesn't work well in cold weather. I know this is a common problem with these types of controllers, but cold weather is a common condition for astronomical observing. Celestron and all other manufacturers really should take this into account and install a heating element in the controller. (I know all the workarounds - use handwarmers, put the controller in your jacket, attach your own heating element, etc. - but they're just not convenient.) There's obviously no intention of minimizing power consumption with this mount, so adding a heating element wouldn't be a big deal.
7. Built-in bubble level: There isn't one.
8. Defective (at least mine is): I'm in the process of sending my mount to Celestron for warranty repairs because it no longer slews properly at slew speeds slower than 8 or 9 during alignment. So, at a slew speed of 5 which is the default for alignment, the mount doesn't move at all. It's too bad I have to pay for sending it in, when I'd really rather just get a better mount.
Problems with the tube:
1. Focus knob: The focus knob shakes and moves the mirror way too much. If I didn't know better I'd think it was a defect. But I know better. It's not considered a defect. It's just a bad design that amateur astronomers apparently don't mind too much.
2. Accessory mounting holes: Ideally, you'd have a red-dot finder and 9x50 finderscope mounted to the top of the tube. You can't do that with this scope unless you're willing to get out your drill. There are mounting holes at approximately the 2 o'clock position and 4 o'clock position, so most people will probably use those using the topmost holes for the red-dot finder and the lower ones for the magnified finderscope. There should be another set of holes on the top of the tube somewhere between 10 and 2 for the purpose of mounting accessories.
There are a few things I like about the scope:
1. Portable: Compared to my 10" dob, the 8 SE is quite portable, and this is the primary reason I bought it. I've been able to take it to the lake (where the sky is much darker) on many occasions.
2. Tracking: Once aligned the mount tracks pretty well. I've left the scope tracking for over an hour, to find that the object of interest was still in the field of view when I returned.
For me, the bottom line is that the NexStar 8 SE has too many problems, and shouldn't be considered by anyone new to astronomy. Considering the design quality, the 8 SE is overpriced. You can get a bigger and better telescope for less than half the price if you're willing to give up the computerized object locator and the tracking ability that's inherent in such a mount. Trust me. If you're a beginner in reasonably dark skies (meaning you can actually see and locate stars with just your eyes) then a computerized mount like this one will frustrate you far more than it will help you.
Battery Life: 4/10
Strength of tripod: 10/10
Light Gathering: 9/10
So this telescope is really cool and fun to use and I will buy an AC adapter later. This telescope is the best I have Ever Had and Is worth the $800.00
I live in a very heavy light polluted sky and no deep sky objects are visible to the naked eye. But when I look through the telescope I see the Orion Nebula(M42) very bright and clear. But when I type in Dumbbell Nebula(M27) I don't see a thing except several tens of stars. To see it you have to image it, I took 10 images 10 second exposure each (10x10s) and stacked them for a total of 100 second exposure . The Nebula was big, bright, and colorful(you can see the image in the product image gallery). So to see brighter/faint deep sky objects in a light polluted sky you have to image them with a camera. the faintest thing I have ever detected in any image is about magnitude 12(244 times fainter you can ever see with the naked eye).
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