Celestron Nexstar 6se Review

The Nexstar 6se is a larger take on Celestron's successful 4se model. Does it live up to the high standards set by the smaller model?

If you're a stargazing fan like us then every new release from Celestron will send a tingle of excitement down your spine. 

Today, we're talking about another scope in Celestron's celebrated Nexstar line. The 6se is the second largest in this lineup. It offers more power and most importantly better views than its smaller siblings. 

This telescope offers a 150mm aperture, up to 60x magnification, and a point and track database with over 40,000 entries. 

Today, we'll be reviewing the Nexstar 6se from Celestron. We have previously reviewed the 4se and loved it. We're sure you're as curious as we are to see if the 6se lives up to its smaller counterpart's reputation. 

In this article, we'll be looking at the basic and computerized features of this telescope. As well as how easy it is to use, what level of customer support Celestron provides, and how well this scope compares to the 4se and 5se. 

Read on to find out what we think of Celestron's Nexstar 6se… 


Celestron - NexStar 6SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000 plus Celestial Objects - 6-Inch Primary Mirror

Pros

  • Well built 
  • 2-year warranty 
  • 6-inch aperture 
  • 60X magnification 
  • 21 / 30 lbs (it's lightweight but bulky)
  • Stable tripod 
  • SkyAlign offers 40,000 item database, with space to add 200 more
  • Sealed scope 
  • Starbright XLT high transmission coating prevents scratching 
  • DSLR photo support mode 
  • GPS compatibility
  • The website offers an exhaustive range of written and video guides 
  • Celestron Starry Night Special Edition available as a free download with purchase 
  • 2-year warranty and unlimited technical support  

Cons

  • Too big for a portable telescope 
  • Poor customer service from Celestron 
  • Battery operated 
  • Too powerful for its battery system 
  • Initial SkyAlign can take a while to set up

Celestron Nexstar 6se Buying Guide

The Basics

The Nexstar is the second largest telescope in this range from Celestron. It's a 6 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with Starbright XLT high transmission coating across its lens. This coating protects against the elements and color distortion. Keeping your images clear. It has an internal flip mirror that can be positioned at 90 or 180 degrees. 

This telescoped is equipped with an internal battery. This battery requires 8AA batteries to run. It has a steel tripod, which is hardwearing and sturdy. This tripod copes well in many different environments and is easy to travel with. It also comes with a handy tool tray so you never have to reach too far whilst using the telescope. 

The 6se has a quick release and easily adjustable mount. It requires no tools to assemble and will be no challenge for beginners to set up quickly. 

Like the other telescopes in the Nexstar range, the 6se is equipped with SkyAlign. This system is the feather in the cap of Celestorm. SkyAlign is a point and track system whose database has 40,000 items in it. It also has 200 spaces for the user to add their own landmarks into the database. 

This a GPS compatible scope, and one that can be used to assist long exposure DSLR shots. 

It has a backlit LED, 2 line control panel. This lighting allows the user to view in most light qualities. 

This telescope comes with an RS-232 cable. When plugged in this allows it to be remotely controlled by a PC. 

With every purchase of a 6se model, Celstron has included a free download of 'Celestron Starry Night Special Edition'. This includes a printable map of the night sky, activities, and a large amount of information on space and the night sky. 

Like all Celestron products, the 6se comes with a 2-year warranty and unlimited access to their 'US-based' technical engineers. 

Mysterious Weight

This product has two different weights listed in different places on its sales page. At one point it claims to weigh 21lbs (just like the 4se and 5se), and at another point, it says it weighs 30lbs. 

We found it to weigh in at just over 30lbs. This makes it a little harder to travel with and carry around than the smaller models. However, in exchange for this extra weight, you get a more powerful scope. 

The Optics 

Now, let's move onto the really exciting stuff, the optics. 

The 6se offers a 6 inch (or 150mm) aperture. This will be more than enough for beginners and most experienced skywatchers. It has an impressive focal length of 1499mm (roughly 59 inches). 

This telescope offers 60x Magnification and up to 354x High Theoretical magnification. For a scope that is designed to be portable and 'on the go', none of these stats should be sniffed at.   

This scope is fitted with one of Celestron's patented orange tube designs. These telescopes come with airtight seals that keep out dust and condensation. The lens on this scope is coated with Celestron's traditional Starbright XLT high transmission coating. This prevents color distortion, scratches on the lens, and keeps images crisp. 

This is the first Schmidt-Cassegrain scope from Celestron. The smaller models in this range come with a Maksutov-Cassegrain model. The Maksutov-Cassegrain is easier for beginners to use. But this model is clearly aimed at more experienced stargazers, who will find the Schmidt-Cassegrain are a more satisfying experience. If not a little more fiddly. 

Ease of Use

This is the category where we start to see the 6se let itself down a little.  

The major selling points of the 4se and the 5se is that they are small but they offer a better than expected scope. This scope is very easy to use but doesn't offer a huge improvement in power levels compared to the smaller models. 

However, this scope is quite a bit bigger and quite a bit heavier. This makes it hard to understand its appeal. It's too big to make a good 'on the go' scope, but it's not quite powerful enough to be a permanent set up at home. 

The Computerized Elements

The whole Nexstar range from Celestron has a series of state of the art computer-based features. The undoubted highlight is the SkyAlign System. But we have included some other honorable mentions at the bottom of this section. 

The SkyAlign system is a point and track database with other 40,000 pre-programmed entries. These entries include landmarks in the night sky both within and outside the range of this telescope. 

SkyAlign also has 200 spaces for the user to record and mark their own landmarks. When setting up SkyAlign you will need to make the most of the telescope's GPS compatibility for the scope to orientate itself. 

Other features include:

  • DSLR long exposure support 
  • Free download with purchase 
  • DC Servo motors with encoders on both axes 
  • GPS compatibility with optional CN16 
  • RS-232 cable for remote control aiming from PC and Mac 
  • Backlit LED panel, with 2 line screen

Dead batteries

Just like the smaller models in this range the 6se powers itself using an internal battery. This internal battery requires 8AA batteries. 

If you're looking at that and are thinking, isn't that the same amount they use to power the smaller models?! 

You'd be right.

So, instead of having a great battery life like the 4se and 5se models. The 6se drains its batteries like nobody's business.  

We have no idea why Celestron didn't add a few extra battery slots on the bigger models. This small mistake takes what could have been a really cool piece of kit and it turns it into something that's incredibly frustrating to travel with. 

What good is a lightweight, portable telescope if you can't trust its batteries to last the whole night? 

Customer Support

We have mentioned in previous reviews of Celestron products that the company has a bad reputation for customer service. This seems to have gotten worse since our last review. 

The company is very lucky that the products they make are well-built. Otherwise, they would not have the same fanbase they do now. 

They do have an amazing range of troubleshooting articles and informative videos on their website. However, they aren't really any help if your product has been damaged. 

The company does offer a generous 2-year warranty that they do fulfill… eventually. It just might take a little bit of work and chasing at your end.

Conclusion 

As usual, Celestron knocks it out of the park with the SkyAlign and other computer-based features. We would expect nothing else from an industry leader like Celestron. 

The 6se comes with all of the features we've come to expect from Celestron scopes - the optical coating, the high-quality builds, and the one of a kind tracking system. 

Sadly, the 6se doesn't appeal to us as much as the smaller scopes in this range. 

The Nexstar 6se has all of the great features the smaller models in its range (4se and 5se) have. Where it falls short is its lack of portability. 

The real benefit of choosing either the Nexstar 4se or the 5se was that you were getting above average features that were super portable. Make the models bigger and they start to lose their main selling factor. 

Gordon Watts
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