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Celestron's new Bronze age NexStar 6se

Posted by Larry Beach   11/12/2011 12:00AM

Celestron's new Bronze age NexStar 6se
I was some what uneasy purchasing A new Celestron with Chinese optics, I was thinking of some of the real low quality tools, electronics etc I had bought in the past..
Then I thought back once upon a time when I was a kid and made in Japan meant J*U*N*K.

For some reason I have thought that the cutoff between Pea Shooter was 5" I had a Nexstar 5" and was happy with it,
the 6 tho seems like it crosses over to the "SERIOUS OPTICS"

The OTA color is somewhat of an Orange but reminds me more of a Glossy Metallic Bronze color, fit and finish is superb... A taste of things to come!

The NexStar 6 SE arrives at your door, in a single substantial box. Even if you’re new to the hobby you’ll have the instrument up and running in no time thanks to a well written and illustrated 4-page quick start guide. Simply, assembly consists of attaching the mount (with optical tube already attached with a Vixen type Dovetail) to the tripod, fitting the star pointer and installing 8 x AA batteries.

One fine point to mention is the fact you can use another
OTA with the Vixen type bar for versatility.

I have a Meade 10 AA battery pack that I put rechargeable Alkaline batterys in, this works great and a bit of Velcro on the leg secures it nicely!!! 10 AA rechargeable at 1.25 volts instead of 10x 1.5 volts with regular batterys make a perfect 12 volts. It lasts longer than the internal 8AA batterys. (Bill Vorse At Telescope Warehouse sells these for about 12 or 13 dollars!) W/O batterys or charger,
I made my own recharger from an old 12V DC adapter laying around. Bill is honest,pleasent to deal with, and ships very quickly.

The 6 SE has five alignment modes to suit just about every observing situation. One of Celestron’s great innovations in the field of GoTo is undoubtedly the SkyAlign feature. Simplicity itself, one points the telescope at any three readily observable Celestial objects (you don’t even have to know their names). All the NexStar needs from you is your location, the date and time. With the optional CN-16 GPS accessory, the built-in computer will establish your position and local time for you.

If any further technical details need clarification then you can resort to the 52-page reference manual that covers the instrument’s use and maintenance in considerable detail.
I have Been a Celestron fan since I bought my first C8 in the 80's, still have it and it has never given me a reason to regret the purchase.

I also have a Meade LX200 Classic that I love with beautifully corrected optics.
(more on the differences later)

********************NexStar mount**************
The 6 SE has five alignment modes to suit about every observing situation. One of Celestron’s great innovations in the field of GoTo is the SkyAlign feature.

I guess I would call it the Dumbing down of the hobby, but it can make a Dad that is new to Astronomy,look like a seasoned Professor. You don't even need to know the names of alignment stars, and if your location is blocked by buildings, trees etc, it is surely nice not having need to carry charts with star names on it, You can even use Planets and the Moon to align with.. How cool is that! All NexStar needs from you is your location, the date and time.
You will need to be accurate and by Google searching the US Atomic clocl in Colorado you can get perfect time.
You also need to know if you are on Daylight savings time.


You need to make sure the tripod is level so you will need to buy a small circular bubble level! Why they did not build one into the tripod is beond me.

If you do not do this step in ALL alignment modes you will get Alignment failure.It took me several trys to learn this. With a low power ocular center the object then switch to a high power eyepiece and fine center, an illuminated reticle eyepiece works great,you will be a very happy camper with the targeting results.

With the optional CN-16 GPS accessory, the built-in computer will establish your position and local time for you.

............NOW THE GOOD STUFF..........

Optically I must say I was very impressed in and out of focus defraction rings showed very nearly if not perfect
optical figure, Even with a 4mm Celestron Ortho the results showed the very slightest hint of a turned edge, or perhaps it was my imagination, because I didn't see it the next time
out observing, VERY CLOSE IF NOT REACHING NULL performance
Defraction limited yes, 1/8 wave Peak to Valley I would say

I tested side by side with my Wonderfull JSO 5" Schmidt that Has had every seasoned observer drop his or her jaw at the quality of optics.

As I mentioned earlier the one thing I miss as compaired to my LX200 is while slewing to an object the Meade shows distance in small blocks that count down in both axis.
It is also somewhat slower slewing but the motors are much quieter, this is nice when momma's bedroom window is a few yards away at 2:00 am.

I also tested the optics against my 1981 C8 with no "Special Coatings" I was BLOWN AWAY when I saw how close
the Starbright and enhanced coatings were to the plain Jane 8".

Jupiter showed so much detail I don't think I could sketch it before revolution spoiled the picture.
Izar in Bootes, split into the beautiful Blue/Gold that is one of my favorites that brings up another point the color correction is very nice making my C8's objects deem a bit yellowich, or dingy in comparison.

In focus shows a nice airy disk surrounded by a concentric single defraction ring and a very slight second ring.

There is no mirror image shift at all, focusing is smooth, just remember to bring fine focus to counter clockwise.

ALL IN ALL I give this a strong **** 1/2 out of 5.
I'm not sure I have ever viewed through a perfect 5 star rated telescope but this one comes mighty close.