The Celestron NX SE 6/8 go-to computerized altazimuth mount is the mount used with the Celestron NexStar 6 SE and NexStar 8 SE catadioptric telescopes. It can hold medium weight optical tubes in size up to a fast focal ratio 102/111mm refractor or an 8” catadioptric scope (about 12 lbs. without accessories when properly balanced). The mount has a no-tool quick-release Vixen-style dovetail slot for fast set-up, take-down, and balancing of any appropriately-sized optical tube that has the correct Vixen-style mounting dovetail.
The NX SE 6/8 mount’s heavy-duty single fork arm is made of die-cast aluminum, so it is rigid and damps vibrations quickly. The arm is offset slightly so that your optical tube’s center of mass is over the axis of rotation of the mount, keeping the optical tube properly balanced in all planes. Built-in friction clutches in altitude and azimuth keep your optical tube fixed in place when eyepieces or accessory loads are changed. No mechanical locking levers or knobs are required.
The mount includes pre-installed enclosed dual DC servo motor drives for slewing and tracking in both altitude and azimuth. The combined motion of the two motors allows the mount to move your scope smoothly in an arc across the sky, following the seemingly curved path taken by the stars and planets. There are nine user-selectable slewing/centering/guiding speeds – 6°/second; 3°/second; 1.5°/second; and 128, 64, 16, 8, 2, and 1x sidereal. There are also three selectable drive rates – sidereal, solar, and lunar.
A compartment in the drive base accepts eight user-supplied AA batteries for powering the mount in the field. The Celestron Power Tank (#4512V) is a highly recommended optional 7 amp-hour capacity multi-purpose rechargeable 12V DC battery that can provide several nights worth of observing from a single charge. To conserve battery life, an optional AC adapter (#2338N) is available to operate the mount from household current during backyard use.
The supplied Celestron NexStar computer hand control with SkyAlign alignment technology has an illuminated numeric keypad and a two-line 16-character LCD display. The hand control contains a nearly 40,000 object database of stars and objects that it can locate and track for you. The database includes the complete RNGC, Messier, and Caldwell catalogs; selected SAO stars (including the best variable stars, binaries, and multiple star systems); the planets; the Moon; and more. You can also store and edit the right ascension and declination coordinates of 200 objects of your own choosing, such as favorite deep space objects or the comet and asteroid coordinates published monthly in Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines.
You have several ways to align the mount on the sky so that the NexStar computer can find and track celestial objects for you. The most popular and easiest to use is Celestron’s exclusive SkyAlign no-guesswork technology. When you are ready to observe, simply input the date, time, and your location into the hand control; then use your optical tube’s finder to point your optical tube at any three bright stars, or to two stars and a bright planet or the Moon (you don’t even have to know which stars and planet you’re looking at, and you don’t have to know and locate specific stars as you do with other alignment programs). The NexStar computer will use the stars you’ve pointed at to model the sky overhead. Once it knows what the sky looks like, it’s ready to find and track nearly 40,000 objects for you at your command.
The NexStar computer hand control includes a built-in RS-232 communication port allowing you to use a CCD autoguider for deep space photography. A supplied RS-232 cable and supplied NexRemote software let you use popular optional astronomy software programs to control the NexStar mount from your lap top or personal computer for remote control point-and-click slewing. The NexStar hand control software can be flash-upgraded from the Celestron website. You can always have the most up-to-date control program, database, and software features simply by downloading the new programs as they are posted.
The mount can be operated with its ergonomically designed hand control conveniently docked in its fork arm storage compartment. You can also remove the control and its coiled connecting cord from the fork arm for hand-held use. There’s no need to worry about wrapping the cord around the mount as you observe different parts of the sky. The hand control plugs into the fork arm rather than the base, so it always moves with your scope.
The computer includes a camera control software program and a camera shutter cable. These let you remotely take a series of timed exposures using your DSLR camera (connected to the mount by an appropriate camera adapter). This can be very useful during lunar or solar eclipses and during occultation events, since you won’t have to miss any of the sights while worrying about the operation of your camera.
All of the database and mount operation information is displayed on a double line, 16-character, liquid crystal display on the hand control. There are 19 fiber optic backlit LED buttons to make it easy for you to control the computer without affecting your dark-adapted vision. If you are new to astronomy, you may wish to start by using the computer’s built-in Sky Tour feature. This program commands the Celestron mount to find the most interesting objects in the sky and automatically slews to them one at a time for you to observe at your leisure. No matter what level of experience you start from, however, the Celestron NX 6/8 SE mount will help unfold all the wonders of the Universe for you, your family, and your friends.
The adjustable height tripod has 2” diameter tubular chromed steel legs for stability, and a combined die-cast spreader bar/accessory tray that is cut out to hold two 2” eyepieces and four 1.25” eyepieces. The spreader bar is spring loaded, so that it can't accidentally detach from the tripod. A locating pin on the top of the tripod automatically centers the scope on the tripod for easy assembly in the dark.