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NexStar 6 SE Conclusions

Celestron Merges Astronomy and Electronics
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This is a very portable, well-designed scope, with impressive collimation. I would have preferred the addition of a standard finder. You will need the accessories mentioned above: power supply, some higher quality eyepieces, and probably some filters, especially for moon viewing. Solar viewing requires a special filter that blocks all UV and most visible light (99.999 %). Note that projecting a solar image through the telescope would harm it, as the warning tag states.

The SkyAlign and other GoTo features worked as designed, making casual astronomy so much easier. The price points of the 6” and 8” scopes are at a sweet spot; I consider them both eminently affordable. Of those advanced amateurs I met at the Los Angeles Astronomical Society (LAAS) and on the Web site cloudyskies.com, most have a smaller, portable scope. Why? Because it’s fun. You can set this very light weight scope (about 21 lbs) on the tripod (9 lbs) in less than five minutes. The NexStar 6SE accepts standard attachments, and the resolution is good. It’s not something you would really outgrow. It is good for astrophotography, but you will need to add a camera adapter-T-mount preferred-instead of the generic contraption I tried to use. Even better is a CCD camera.

olympus c7070 nexstar An Olympus C-7070 coupled to the NexStar 6 SE via the digital camera adapter

I’m sure you have a spare webcam; try converting your own! See here and here to get you started.

The 6” would be a very good choice for a serious student, a casual adult, someone not too sure of their interest, or those not wanting to examine fainter DSOs. I would have preferred a slightly bigger scope; the most popular scope in the Celestron line is the 8” SCT, and that is the scope for which I lust.

NexStar 6 SE with XLT coatings

List, $1087. There is a $150. rebate until the end of December. www.celestron.com

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