Aug 31

Telescope Reviews: Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope

There are a few names which will immediately spring to mind when you’re thinking about buying a telescope, or even if you’re just looking one up on online. Celestron is, and has been, one of the leading names in hobbyist telescopes for many years now. In fact Celestron had its start in business way back in the 1950s when it was manufacturing electronic components for the US military under the “Valor Electronics” brand name. It was only when the CEO of Valor (and up to recently Celestron) Tom Johnson built a telescope for his sons that he realized other people would be interested in buying telescopes for their kids too. So from 1964 onwards “Valor” was renamed to Celestron and the rest, as they say, is history!

The Celestron brand was acquired by Synta in 2005 but have continued their strong tradition of making some of the very best telescopes in the world. Although you might think that a brand name like Celestron is for home use only their products have been used in several major observatories including the famous Jodrell Bank.

Under our scrutiny today is the Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope, so let’s see how it did when we put it through its paces!

Celestron NexStar 4SE

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Compound & Compact Telescope

You’ll notice almost immediately that the Celestron NexStar 4 SE is a very compact unit, which combines a wide aperture of 4-inches with an optical tube length of just over 13-inches. Fortunately the fact that this Celestron NexStar Telescope is catadioptric means that even though the scope itself looks like it belongs to a hobbit it actually has a focal length of 1325mm (52-inches). The technical name for this type of telescope is a Maksutov-Cassegrain and it combines all the bits that make refractors so popular (low cost) with everything that that makes reflectors so popular (high quality).

Basically the combination of lenses and mirrors means you can squeeze more out of this type of telescope overall, while not spending a lot of money. Oh and you can use a compound telescope during the day – which is not possible with Newtown/reflectors telescopes.

Proven Computer Control Tech

Even if you’re not a nerd or geek of Sheldon-esque (Big Bang Theory Sheldon of course!) proportions you’re still going to get a kick out of the fact that the Celestron NexStar 4 SE is fully computerized and motorized too. The NexStar 4SE technology which drives all of this has been tested and updated again and again over the years and has proven itself to be very reliable. One tiny niggle is the fact that you’re better off using latitude and longitude to set your location on terra firma – the idea of ZIP codes works but just not as well is all.

NexStar 4SE has a database of 40,000 objects and with just a few presses of the buttons on the controller your scope will track over to the star, planet or Messier Object you want to spend some time “Ohhhing” and “Ahhhing” over with your friends or family. Basically this type of technology makes astronomy far more attractive to the average person because you’re not fiddling with aligning your scope with Ursae Minoris (the North star) or having to spend ages setting the whole thing up. Basically just point your telescope at 3 bright stars and it calibrates itself for use. We’d recommend that you use NiMH rechargeable batteries though – the batteries tend to last just a few short hours.

Great Results

The Moon - Celestron 4SEThe nature of compound telescopes means you’re getting vivid images and a pretty wide field of view too. Of course the StarBright XLT coatings on the Celestron 4SE do obviously help quite a bit too. The inclusion of a 25mm Plossl eyepiece means you get a maximum magnification of 53x, which is more than enough to enjoy all of the sights our own solar system has to offer and the addition of a 12.5mm eyepiece can bump your magnification level right up to over 100x. This level of magnification is more than enough to pick out details on Jupiter for example.

Easy To Set Up

Celestron have done their best to make this telescope as easy to set up as possible and the single form arm assembly is part of that. If you’ve ever owned a basic refractor telescope you’ll know how messy and time consuming the setting up process can be. That’s what makes a high-quality telescope like the NexStar 4 SE such a pleasure to use – it’s very compact and tidy and there’s no tools needed to get everything in place. Then of course the NexStar computer and SkyAlign software make actually using this scope a whole lot easier too, with everything controlled from a single handheld unit.

Color Choices

Closeup of the moon - Celestron NexStar 4 SE TelescopeThis Celestron telescope is available in a very typical bright orange color – not the first Celestron scope to share this color scheme.

Additional Features

You also get the StarPointer finder scope to make manually tracking certain celestial bodies that bit easier.

Included Accessories

When you purchase this Celestron NexStar 4SE Telescope you also get a copy of “”TheSkyX – First Light Edition” which is a piece of astronomy software that contains more than 10,000 separate objects, and has printable sky maps for you to use too.


  • The Celestron 4SE is a compact and highly affordable catadiopter
  • StarBright XLT and a standard 25mm Plossl eyepiece provide excellent visual results
  • The proven NexStar technology makes using this Celestron telescope very, very easy

Blackheaded Grossbeak - Celestron NexStar 4 SECons

  • As with any motorized and computerized telescope you’ll do better with an external power supply like a PowerTank or similar.

Verdict of the Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope

When you buy a Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope you’re getting a telescope which contains everything that has made Celestron a leading name in their field for so many years now. Plus you have the state-of-the-art features like the proven computer technology and software, which makes this telescope as suitable for a hobbyist as for a more advanced home astronomer.

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