Celestron NexStar 8 SE 8" Go-to SCT


Availability: More on the way

The NexStar 8 SE gives you 21st century technology for less than the price of a 1984-model scope. It combines Celestron's classic orange and black color scheme with the newest go-to SkyAlign computer and the most advanced optical coatings available – all at a sensible and affordable price.
Our Product #: NX8SE
Celestron Product #: 11069
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Product Description

In 1984, an 8" Celestron telescope was painted orange and black and cost $1438.45 ($3484.17 in 2017 dollars) – and didn't have a go-to computer or Starbright XLT optical coatings. But it had Celestron's superb optics. Many people still fondly recall their original orange tube Celestron C8 as being the best telescope they ever had.

Well, Celestron's optical quality is still there. And Celestron's NexStar 8 SE has brought back the orange and black C8 for those who love the look of the original, but with a slew of modern updates. All of it a a price less than that of the 1984 scope!

Its optics are enhanced by the most advanced optical coatings available from Celestron - new Starbright XLT multicoatings. Across the full photo/visual spectrum from 400nm to 750nm, independent laboratory tests show the new Starbright XLT coatings are 16% brighter than even Celestron's legendary original Starbright multicoatings - long the industry standard.

The Celestron NexStar 8 SE comes with a red dot finder, tripod, 25mm Plössl eyepiece, flashlight battery-operated dual-axis motor drives, and a go-to computerized hand control that will find over 40,000 stars and deep space objects for you automatically.

New SkyAlign technology makes it easy to line up this Celestron telescope on the sky so it can find celestial objects for you. You don't have to level the scope or point it north, or know which stars are which. Simply point the scope at any three bright stars, or at two bright stars and a planet or the Moon (you don't even have to know which stars and planet you're looking at). The telescope will then know how the sky is laid out that night and will be ready to find and track over 45,000 objects for you at your command.

The Celestron NexStar 8 SE has all the features and optical performance you need to keep you happily observing for years to come - and a classic color scheme that will draw admiring glances wherever you take your scope. It may well be all the telescope you'll ever need!

This Telescope's Optical System . . .

Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube: 8" aperture (2032mm focal length f/10) aluminum tube, 17" long, weighing 13 lbs. One-knob quick-release attachment to fork arm for fast assembly in the field. Guaranteed diffraction-limited optical performance. Celestron orange finish.

Starbright XLT fully-multicoated: This state-of-the-art coatings package includes high reflectivity multilayer aluminum mirrors enhanced with titanium dioxide for high reflectivity, plus a unique combination of magnesium fluoride and hafnium dioxide antireflection coatings on both sides of the Schmidt corrector lens. Starbright XLT multicoatings give you higher light transmission for brighter deep space images and shorter exposure times during photography. They also visibly increase the contrast on subtle lunar, planetary, and nebula details when compared with a scope with standard coatings or multicoatings. For more information on the XLT multicoatings, click on the "8" Starbright XLT optics" icon in the support tab above.

Red dot finder: Star Pointer non-magnifying variable brightness red dot-type. The Star Pointer is the quickest and easiest way to point your telescope exactly to the desired object in the sky. It's like having a laser pointer that appears to shine directly onto the night sky. No need to worry about the inverted images that you see through traditional finders. Just align the red dot seen through the Star Pointer with the desired star in the sky. It's that easy.

Focuser: Pre-loaded ball-bearings support the focuser mechanism, rather than the bushings used on some competitive scopes. This minimizes image shift during focusing so no external rear cell electric focuser is needed.

Visual back: Removable 1.25" visual back holds visual and photographic accessories such as a star diagonal, tele-extender, off-axis guider, etc.

Star diagonal: 1.25" multicoated prism type.

Eyepiece: 1.25" 25mm Plössl (81x). The eyepiece field of view is 0.61° across, 20% wider than the diameter of the full Moon.

This Telescope's Mount . . .

Fork mount/drive system: The heavy-duty single fork arm is made of die-cast aluminum, so it is rigid and damps vibrations quickly. The optical tube is offset slightly so that its 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 the optical tube fixed in place when eyepieces or accessory loads are changed. No mechanical locking levers or knobs are required.

The 11 lb. mount includes slewing/tracking motors in both altitude and azimuth. 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. The drives normally operate in the altazimuth mode (right/left up/down) to locate and track objects for visual use and casual solar system photography. A compartment in the drive base accepts eight user-supplied AA batteries for powering the scope in the field.

The Celestron Power Tank Lithium (#PTL12V) 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 2.5 Amp AC adapter (#2338N) is available to operate the scope from household current during backyard use.

Computer control: The supplied NexStar computer hand control has a 45,000+ object database of stars and objects that it can locate and track for you. The database includes the complete RNGC, Messier, Caldwell, IC, and Abell catalogs; selected SAO stars (including the best variable stars and multiple star systems); the planets; the Moon; and more. You can also store and edit the right ascension and declination coordinates of 400 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 have the NexStar computer find celestial objects for you. The most popular and easiest to use is Celestron's exclusive SkyAlign no-guesswork technology. After turning on the scope, simply enter the date and time and your location, then point the scope at any three bright stars, or at two bright stars and a 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 over 45,000 objects for you at your command.

The computer hand control includes a built-in RS-232 communication port allowing you to use a CCD autoguider for deep space photography. It also lets you use popular astronomy software to control the NexStar from a lap top or personal computer for remote control point-and-click slewing. The hand control software can now 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 scope 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 walk around the scope to observe different parts of the sky. The hand control plugs into the fork arm rather than the base, so it always moves with the scope.

All of the database and scope 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 NexStar 8 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 NexStar 8 will unfold all the wonders of the Universe for you, your family, and your friends. For much more information on the NexStar computer and the unique SkyAlign software, click on the "NexStar computer with SkyAlign" icon in the support tab above.

Adjustable height altazimuth tripod: The tripod has 2" diameter steel legs, with a center leg brace for added rigidity, and damps vibrations quickly. The center leg brace is drilled to form a convenient accessory tray that holds 1.25" and 2" eyepieces to keep them up out of the dew-soaked grass. A locating pin on the top of the tripod automatically centers the scope on the 9 lb. tripod for easy assembly in the dark.

Two-year warranty: All Celestron go-to telescopes have a two-year warranty, double that of competitive go-to scopes.

Tech Details

Aperture 8"
Focal Length 2032mm
Focal Ratio f/10
Heaviest Single Component 24 lbs.
Highest Useful Magnification 406x
Motorized Controls Computerized GoTo
Weight 33 lbs.
Optical Coatings StarBright XLT
Resolution 0.57 arc seconds
Supplied Eyepiece 25mm 1.25"
Telescope Type Schmidt-Cassegrain
View Finder StarPointer
Visual Limiting Magnitude 14.0
Warranty 2 years


Review by:
I have had this telescope for years and just love it! It is a great size, and easy enough for me to take in/out of the house, car, etc. It is quick to set up and share the skies with my neighbors and friends. I dropped my tube a few months ago (ugh), and quickly purchased it again. I highly recommend it! (Posted on 10/23/2019)
Review by:
I was considering different types and sizes of telescopes for my 1st one and had a friend nudge me from a 5 inch to an 8 inch and I'm glad I did. I love this scope and find it is big enough to capture plenty of light but small enough for me to cart outside when ever I want. I think it is the perfect size for me.
Dave (Posted on 10/23/2019)
Review by:
This was my first serious scope nearly a year ago, and I still find it to be an extremely useful piece of equipment, if not the best all around scope, although I now own an 8" Newtonian and 6" doublet refractor. I do not regard the latter two as portable. but the 8 SE is, and I take it on trips. I did sell the Alt- Az mount if came with, and now use it with an EQ mount for astrophotography. It works well with the focal reducer for DSOs, and without with a Barlow for planetary.
Here is a recent shot of Andromeda taken with it:
https://www.astrobin.com/8fdvk6/?nc=user (Posted on 9/9/2019)
Review by:
I’ve had my Celestron C8 for about 8 years. A few other scopes have come and gone since then, but I plan to keep my 8se for a long time. I love this scope. I’m a visual only observer (no astro photography). The optics are excellent and the go-to and tracking accuracy is pretty good. Easy to use and great views. Highly recommended! (Posted on 8/12/2019)
Review by:
Celestron 8se was my first scope. I wanted something simple to setup, easy to transport and for viewing. This scope does a great job at all of these things. Great views, intuitive and easy to set up and use. Great purchase! (Posted on 7/25/2019)
Review by:
The bad:
The Star Align System is not as easy to use as the advertisement/manual suggests. I routinely have difficulty with alignment failing and then the process has to be started over. Also, I have added WIFI and attempted alignment with via my smartphone but then found out that that then forces you to work only with the smart phone app. Can all of these things be worked out by consulting the internet and the amazing Cloudy Nights? Yes, did I expect to have to? No.
The good:
I have no reason to believe the build quality is bad.
The "I should have thought more deeply before purchasing":
This is my second telescope advancing beyond my completely manual 5" Newtonian. This telescope is really big compared to that scope. Big is great if you can use it, but I find that it just does not travel as well and the alignment process hassles has meant that I have not gotten it out of the house as often as I wanted to. My payback of the price is taking a lot longer than I hoped. But once I add that next level of DSO to my viewing success, perhaps all will be forgiven. (Posted on 7/22/2019)
Review by:
I bought one of these back when they first came out back in 2005. I sold that one for a different setup as I wanted to go into Astrophotography . Last year I bought it again at a very good price. I love the versatility of this scope. The fact that I can remove the OTA is a big advantage to me. I have an 80MM refactor that fits on the mount very nicely as well. The SkyAlign feature is great for grab and go. I would suggest this scope to anyone who wants to have big aperture and go to at a decent price. (Posted on 7/22/2019)
Review by:
Light weight mount I leave assembled and can quickly setup in my backyard. The Celestron C8 optical tube gives great views of the planets and does ok on DSO's. Downsides are vibrations in the mount take a few seconds to settle down, won't do a 3 star auto star align, you have to settle for a 2 star auto align. Tracking isn't the best with the gear in the mount. But for the money it's a great grab and go mount. Anything else would cost more and weight more, so I'm very happy with mine. (Posted on 1/14/2019)
Review by:
I purchased this scope from Astronomics as a starter scope hoping that I would not need to upgrade for quite some time. Because I am inexperienced I chose the NEXSTAR go-to mount because it seemed simpler than the GEM to align and operate, and I don't intend on getting into astrophotography any time soon.

I am very pleased with this purchase. Setup was relatively easy and the alignment process with the NEXSTAR mount is pretty simple. Biggest issue I've had so far is that the hand controller screen can be a little difficult to read because it scrolls pretty fast and I've not found a way to slow down. Could just be my eyes. Once you get the spotter scope aligned, it is easy to get the scope aligned using any of the automatic methods--as long as you've got clear skies.

I do recommend this scope/mount combination. (Posted on 1/14/2019)
Review by:
This is my second telescope and a big step up from my first unit (127mm powerseeker). This mount is so much more solid and easier to setup. I love the goto once I am aligned. I opted for the starsense accessory since I was a little worried about aligning the scope in my bright urban sky. I have been enjoying great views of the moon, planets and brighter deep sky objects like Orion and Pleiades. This scope opens the heavens to marvel at the beauty of the cosmos. Buy yours today! (Posted on 1/12/2019)
Review by:
I love my 8SE. This is my first real telescope, and I knew I needed something that was both a serious piece of equipment AND something that wouldn't frustrate me with a huge learning curve. This telescope is just right. The very first night, I was viewing DSOs within half an hour. You can't go wrong with the 8SE. (Posted on 12/7/2018)
Review by:
This is my third real telescope, after hurting my back I couldn't handle my old 8" dob any longer. I needed something lighter, with just as much light gathering power, and perferably something that would track my targets automatically (after 10 years, I was tired of the look-nudge-look-nudge game). This scope is one that I've been dreaming about since they were first introduced. And finally...finally, I have one. In fact, I just came in from my first light with this scope and it was awesome. Easy to set up, easy to align (would have been easier if my light polluted skies allowed more stars) and the tracking was simply put, amazing. I loved being able to stare--stare!--at Mars as long as I wanted. With an external lithium ion battery, this thing is great. I look forward to many more sessions with this scope as I get used to it. You won't regret it! Oh, and the vibration issues people mention were not that noticable to me. It's like 2 seconds. Seriously, it's not that big a deal. (Posted on 11/30/2018)
Review by:
This is my 3rd telescope and my first SCT scope. I wanted something simple to setup and easy to use for viewing and this scope does a fantastic job. Great optics, intuitive and easy to use. This is my goto scope when. period. You wont be disappointed! (Posted on 11/28/2018)
Review by:
This is my third telescope. I got it for viewing and imaging.
There's a bit of a vibration/shake issue when focusing or touching/bumping it. The vibration suppression pads greatly reduce that. The expensive brand names aren't necessary.
This setup won't accurately track for long durations. An wedge is available if needed. (Posted on 11/8/2018)
Review by:
this was my first scope and I could not be more happy with it, the go to system allows for quick locating of targets and ensure they stay right where you need them and the ota provides crystal clear views that are sure to amaze. Highly reccomend to anyone looking for a good quality telescope. (Posted on 11/4/2018)
Review by:
This was the first real telescope I bought almost 6 years ago. The idea of star hopping and searching for targets didn't really appeal to me. I wanted a good light gatherer that I could use to just look at the sky, and have it go to the target. It is easily portable in 2 pieces, easily set up, and I have taken it to many dark sites in Oklahoma. It doesn't get as much use these days, as I have since purchased an AVX eq mount, but when I want to go beyond my backyard, the Nexstar mount and 8 inch SCT is in the car headed to darker skies. This is a set up that I will pass on to younger family members in time. (Posted on 10/16/2018)
Review by:
This scope is easy to use and transport. Coupled with Celestron's auto-alignment camera it is a snap to use! (Posted on 10/14/2018)
Review by:
I had one of these when they first came out back in 2005. The improvements they made since then are just what was needed. The original had a fixed mount for the OTA. you could not move the OTA to balance the system. I eventually sold it for that reason. I could not get balance without attaching something to the end of the scope. I now have the newest version and I love it. The Allsky alignment program is awesome for outreach. The 8" optics are awesome as always. I am using it for planetary imaging and visual outreach.

Great scope (Posted on 10/7/2018)
Review by:
This telescope was the scope that gave me my intro into visual astronomy. I wanted something that I could learn on but also something that would give me room to grow with. Fast forward two years to the present and I have the OTA on a GEM mount, guide scope mounted to the top and am about to buy my first Astro-camera to do deep sky imaging! Needless to say it has served me well and done exactly what I hoped it would. With the altazimuth mount computerised tracking, learning all the basics of astronomy and the night sky was a breeze. If you are looking to get into astronomy but want something that will serve you well as you learn your craft, I would highly recommend this scope. (Posted on 10/7/2018)
Review by:
The Nexstar 8SE is a great visual scope for someone who lives in a light polluted area due to its excellent goto system which eliminates the need for star-hopping in a bright sky with a long focal length telescope. It is also very easy to align, especially with the addition of Celestron's StarSense AutoAlign camera. This makes it easy to move around the backyard in order to clear objects like trees and other houses. Of course, after every such move, the alignment must be redone but, as I say, it's easy. Also, as others have noted, the optics are first rate. I am very happy with my purchase. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
Review by:
This is my first scope and I wanted portability with goto functionality. This scope has enough aperature to see DSO’s and is easy to lug around. It has exceeded all my expectations for what I wanted to to starting out in this hobby. While I am learning the sky it still allows me to see things with the built in database in the controller and with that 8 inch light gathering you really can see a lot. I am glad I purchased such an easy to set up system. I have been at star parties where I am aligned in minutes looking at stuff while the guys with GEM’s are still trying to align an hour later. So the best thing is that I use it because it’s easy to use. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
Review by:
After thorough research and talking to lots of knowledgeable people, I bought this telescope for observing. I've had it going on three years now, and couldn't be happier with it. It's easy to set up and easy to use. At public star parties, people are always amazed at how good the optics are compared to others. I think I'll always have this one. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
Review by:
I have a 12" dob. While it has nice 1.25 & 2.0" lenses I always keep coming back to my Celestron 8". I actually use the lenses from my Celestron on the dob. 98% of the time I prefer the 8" Celestron to the 12" . The views are so much clearer, sharp and crisp. Celestron is definitely the gold standard and you won't go wrong with their 8". The Go To system is an absolute joy to use and amazingly accurate. Just the other night I did the night tour option and was amazed at a particular star cluster that the tour guided me to. If it wasn't for the tour I would have never see this little jewel. When you see deep space objects like this, it is so stunning that it takes your breath away. Absolutely amazing, indeed. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
Review by:
I was looking for an upgrade from my starter scope. After doing on-line research and talking to people in the local Astronomy Club I called Astronomics. They listened to my questions, asked questions and recommended the Celestron SE8. It was an ideal solution: easy setup, portable (have a sports car), great optics, excellant tracking and extensive go-to data base. Some accessories you might consider are an AC adapter, Celestron power supply and Astrozap dew/light shield. A bag for baseball bats makes a great tripod case. Value for dollar makes this an outstanding choice. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
I would have given it five stars but the tripod is kind of flimsy for this size scope. I live in a major metropolitan city but when I go to a dark site this rig travels well. If you fine tune your alignment you can capture short exposures with a camera or video. It is the perfect size for light grasp and ease of portability. Set-up is easy and you can align without any knowledge of the night sky (just don't use planets for alignment). Definitely would recommend this scope. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
I have owned a Nexstar 8se for three years. I was looking for a lightweight 8" sct with a quick setup time. This telescope fulfills this purpose well. The Nexstar has relatively good optics. I use it with a variety of 1.25" eyepieces and find it a great scope. The setup using the handheld control guide takes a bit of getting used to; but once you get it down, it is quite straightforward. I purchased a gps unit to speed up the alignment process. The focusing knob on this scope is small, making fine adjustments difficult. I stuck a rubber Lego wheel over the focusing knob and it made a huge difference. The Nexstar tripod and drive seem quite solid, but caution must be used when first learning to set up the system to make sure the telescope tube is securely attached to the arm. On a solid surface such as concrete, one has to avoid too much contact with the scope to avoid vibration. On grass or soft ground, this is less noticeable. Don't try to use batteries to power the drive. They just don't last long enough. Rather get a 12v dc power supply. Also, invest in an astronomical observing chair to add enjoyment to your stargazing. Overall, this is a great scope, especially for beginners or those who want a portable, lightweight SCT system with an 8" aperture. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
I bought an 8SE in March of 2013. First of all I have to say the service and delivery of my total package was incredibly good. Secondly, while it took me a couple of days to figure out the computer, you have to enter an accurate location ( I used a GPS), but after that no problem, worked 100%. The optics I find incredible. Took a 30 second exposure of the Orion Nebula and got a beautiful shot the very first time.

There may be better telescopes out there, but for the money I had I would highly recommend buying this telescope, and also buying it from Astronomics.

No complaint s what-so-ever! (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
I have been using this telescope for a year now and I am very pleased with it. I needed a telescope that had a good amount of aperture but I also needed portability. This fits the bill nicely. I am essentially a beginner and it does not take me long to set up and align (around 10 minutes, not including cool-down time). The weight of the assembled mount and OTA is very manageable and not too cumbersome to handle. This is all very important because I live in a light-polluted city and I do not have a dark site readily available. This telescope easily fits into my 2-door Honda Civic, just to give you an idea of how portable it is. I also love the fact that the OTA is detachable in case I ever want to get a different mount and tripod for it.

The views through the 8 SE are fantastic. It can easily give very pleasing views of the moon, planets, nebulae, star clusters, and other DSO's. The mount is very solid, so the views are not shaky either (in my experience). I am sure it does not perform as well on the moon and planets as a good APO Refractor, nor would it give as good of views of DSO's that a larger Dobsonian would give. But the 8 SE performs very well on a wide variety of targets and its portability for the aperture is tough to beat. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
As a novice star gazer, I was torn as to what type/size of telescope to buy for my family's first REAL telescope.. After reading tons of reviews and doing some homework, I decided on the Nexstar 8SE. I have not been disappointed. Small enough to take anywhere, big enough to see what you want to see. I've found that I have only been limited by the atmospheric conditions. Easy to assemble, intuitive to operate. There are adjustments to be made to the "slack" or backlash in the motor drive gears, but the manual walks you through it. I found that reading through operations, then just setting it up and taking it for a few "test drives" was a lot of fun. I bought the Nexstar 8SE, and an Astro Tech paradigm 12mm wide field eyepiece to compliment the 24mm Celestron eyepiece that comes with the scope. I've found this combination to be a great starting point for a novice like myself. It seems plenty sturdy to me, as I was a bit worried about the single fork mount style. It's just been a joy to look through, and a lot of fun for us to use as a family. The guys at Astronomics were super helpful and informative. They took a beginner like me and armed me with the knowledge to make an informed decision. All in all, it is a home run and I couldn't be happier. A great purchase that didn't break the bank. I saw Saturn for the first time in my life the first weekend I owned this telescope, and I can promise you, that's a life changing event. Enough of all of this review reading,...GO BUY THIS SCOPE! (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
This was my first real scope. The optics on the 8" tube are great and I was constantly impressed by the planetary views it give me. My only picks are that the single arm style mount allows for vibration, however the optional anti-vibration pad/puck things help quite a bit. The upside is that with the tube mounted, the entire thing can be carried around with relative ease. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
Great optics in a sweet little package.....a wonderfully portable C8. A few compromises here and there to keep the price down, but they all have simple work-arounds. This is the scope that will get the most use due to its light weight and fast set-up and take-down times. Quality optics in a computerized (and easy to use) GOTO scope make the 8 SE a easy choice. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
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Supplied Accessories

  • Starbright XLT multicoated 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain optics
  • Quick-release tube attachment
  • Single fork arm design
  • Classic orange and black color scheme
  • Multicoated 1.25" 25mm E-Lux Plössl Eyepiece (81x)
  • Star Pointer red dot non-magnifying finder
  • 1.25" star diagonal
  • 1.25" visual back
  • Dual axis DC drive (powered by 8 user-supplied AA Batteries)
  • Heavy duty base with rubber feet for tabletop operation
  • NexStar SkyAlign go-to computer hand control with 45,000+ star and object database
  • Adjustable height tripod with combined accessory tray/spreader bar
  • NexRemote and TheSky Level 1 software on CD-ROM
  • Dust covers.