NexStar Resource Site

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The NexStar User's Guide - Excerpt from Chapter 3

Overview of the NexStar Line

All NexStar telescopes share the same basic operation. Once you learn to use one model of NexStar, you can use any model of NexStar - from the little NexStar 60 GT to the sophisticated NexStar 11 GPS. There are various options for the initial alignment of the telescope, but they all rely on you to center two stars that we commonly refer to as "alignment stars". After you have centered the two alignment stars the telescope now has a working model of the sky. You may then select objects and the telescope will slew to them at the press of a button.

The simple operation of the NexStar system is one of its great strengths. To slew to most objects, you press a catalog button, type in the number of the object, and then press the Enter button. For example, to GoTo the Andromeda galaxy (M31), you would press the M button (Messier), type in '031', and then press the Enter button. Simplicity at its finest.

And that simplicity pays off for a new owner. I ordered my NexStar 80 GT in October of 2000 and it experienced first light on November 6th after less than an hour for assembly and familiarity. As described in the Introduction, it was a good night that exceeded my expectations. Even today, I feel the NexStar 80 GT is one of the absolute best beginner scopes on the market, as well as the best value in the low-priced GoTo market.

Another characteristic shared by the NexStar line is stability. Telescopes in the under $400 range are typically supplied with tripods that shake and dance at the slightest touch and take many seconds to come to a rest. And the typical alt-azimuth or equatorial mounts on such entry-level scopes are notoriously difficult to precisely aim at any point in the sky. Such is not the case with the entry-level NexStar models. Motion of the telescope with the directional buttons is smooth and there is very little play in the mechanics of the mounts. The supplied or recommended tripods are well matched for the weight of the various models. The advanced NexStar models are also very stable and motion control and tracking are even more precise. All models deaden vibration in less then 2 or 3 seconds, most models almost immediately.

No one telescope can meet everyone's requirements nor the various desires of the more dedicated amateur astronomer. It is not uncommon for the more afflicted among us to own two or more telescopes! To meet various needs, Celestron has built a wonderfully diverse line of NexStar telescopes, each with different strengths and weaknesses.

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