NexStar Resource Site

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Basic Information about the NexStar SE Series

In June of 2005, Celestron announced a new line of computerized scopes - the NexStar SE.  Utilizing the latest upgradeable NexStar hand control, the NexStar SE series is quite similar to the NexStar i Series and replaces it in the model lineup.   The NexStar SE is offered in 4 inch Maksutov and 5, 6 and 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain models.  Introductory prices range from $599 for the NexStar 4SE up to $1399 for a NexStar 8SE.

There are actually two distinct mounts in this series, the 6SE and 8SE share one type of mount and the 4SE and 5SE share another type.  The 6/8 mount is basically the same as the original NexStar 5i/8i mount while the 4/5 mount is an upgraded version of the NexStar 4GT mount.  Note that though the 4/5SE utilize gearing and motors similar to the GT models (and the current SLT series), tracking is greatly improved over the 4GT mount and is on par with other NexStar models at the mid to lower price range.

Perhaps the most exciting change to these mounts is the new method for attaching the optical tube to the fork arm.  All four models use a standard CG-5/Vixen dovetail clamp to mate the optical tube to the mount.  This allows the optical tube to be removed for more compact transportation or even to switch optical tubes.  It also allows for balancing and clearance when using heavier accessories.

Additional features:

  • All models come standard with Celestron's StarBright XLT coatings.
  • All models come with a steel tripod - the 4/5SE come with the model 93497 "wedgepod" (tripod with simple built-in wedge) while the 6/8SE come with the model 93593 tripod.
  • The 4/5SE include a unique camera port for connecting a digital SLR camera.  This allows the NexStar hand control to execute a series of timed exposures of desired objects.  You simply build the list, specify the length of each exposure and the scope will GoTo each object in turn, capturing the image on your camera.
  • The 6/8SE mount includes an autoguider port, though the 4/5SE does not.
  • All models have an AUX port compatible with the CN-16 GPS module and the Auxiliary Port Accessory Kit.  The Aux Port Kit allows, among other things, the motor control firmware to be upgraded by the user.
  • NexRemote is included with all models.
  • All models support equatorial alignment and tracking.

The new hand control sports the latest version of the NexStar firmware.  This includes features such as Identify and Constellation Tour.  This hand control responds to the same PC commands (via the RS-232 port on the bottom) as the NexStar 8/9.25/11 GPS, so programs compatible with the NexStar GPS are compatible with the NexStar SE.  Future upgrades to the hand control firmware will be available for download via the Internet and owners can apply the upgrades themselves.

Additional information is found on Celestron's web site -

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Michael Swanson
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