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NexStar 8i Special Edition

In November of 2004, Celestron introduced the NexStar 8i Special Edition.  As the name implies, this is expected to be a limited production model.  The general description is the same as the NexStar 8i as found in The NexStar User's Guide, but there are significant differences which I will point out here.

Optically and mechanically the NexStar 8i SE is identical to the NexStar 8i.  The NexStar 8i SE comes standard with Celestron's enhanced XLT coatings (see Celestron's web site - - for details about XLT).  Tracking and GoTo accuracy are also identical to the NexStar 8i.  Appearance is the first big difference you will note - the SE sports a bright orange aluminum anodized tube.  The next difference you will likely notice is the low price of the SE - even though it includes the tripod and XLT coatings.

NexStar 8i SE at a Glance

Optical System: Schmidt-Cassegrain Catadioptric
Approximate Street Price: $1400 (includes tripod)
Aperture: 8 inches (203mm)
Focal Length: 2032mm
Focal Ratio: f/10
Supplied Eyepieces: 25mm Plossl (81x)
Maximum Magnification: 400x
Maximum Field of View: 0.9
Magnitude Limit: 13.3
Resolution Limit: 0.7 arcsecond
Finder: 1x power red-dot
Objects in HC Database: 40,000
Weight (no tripod): 24 lbs. (11 kg)


Operationally there have been big changes.  The 8i SE does not have Quick Align or GPS Align options. The new Auto Two Star Alignment is similar to the original Auto Align, but the user must manually point to the first of the two alignment stars.  This is to bypass the original Auto Align's requirement to start with the scope pointed north and level. Celestron removed the requirement to point north and level to avoid paying Meade 8% of the sales price of the scope (approximately $125 for the N8i). This is one of the reasons the N8i SE is less expensive than the N8i. All other alignment options remain the same.

To align a NexStar 8i SE indoors for testing, or outdoors for daytime use, read here.

It should also be noted that the NexStar 8i Special Edition is not compatible with hand control version 2.2 (the version shipped with the 5i/8i).  All programs (PC and PDA astronomy software) that are compatible with the NexStar 5i/8i and NexStar GPS models are compatible with the NexStar 8i Special Edition.


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Michael Swanson
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