Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review of my new Celestron NexStar 4 SE

I sold a number of my older telescopes just before Christmas in order to purchase a Celestron NexStar 4SE telescope. I wanted a "grab-n-go" telescope with a sturdy tripod mount that also could be used in both equatorial and alt/az mode... but also with an acurate "go-to" computerized capability.
The Celestron NexStar 4SE seemed to fit the bill nicely.

I used to own one that I got used from off of craigslist but it did not have the tripod or the equatorial ability so I sold it off and used the funds to help purchase an older Celestron C8 (orange tube).

Ah, the good ole' days

Still, I missed the ability to "grab-n-go." So, just before this last Christmas, Astronomics notified me of a special that Celestron was doing. If one ordered the NexStar 4SE before New Years Day then one could get the "whole meal deal" for $50 off including FREE SHIPPING for just $450 !

I was MOTIVATED now!

So, older scopes sold, I ordered mine!

The shipping was FAST from Astronomics and the box BIG! Upon unpacking the scope and putting it all together I knew it was what I wanted.

Then came the clouds... days and days of clouds. Weeks and weeks of clouds.

Then a brief break ! Yea!

But I immediately noticed that something wasn't quite right. The stars never focused to a definite point... instead they would get close and then the star point would flare off... hmmm. I first thought it was because the scope didn't cool down sufficiently... but after it did the flaring continued.

So I took a visual look down the scope from the rear and saw the problem: the optics were not aligned... not even close to centered.

You can see the center "donut" is more like an eye than a true circular donut in appearance.
This defect is amplified when focusing on a star... or anything for that matter. Hence the flare...

I first thought it was just a primary mirror alignment issue but when looking at the front end of the scope it seemed that the secondary mirror tube seemed out of alignment, too.

So I contacted Celestron support and after a couple of anxious days I got an email stating that I could send it back to them under warranty via UPS. So I boxed the OTA (that is, the optical tube assembly, which is the actual scope itself, not the mount or tripod, etc) and have shipped it off to Celestron in California.

I will update my experience when the scope is returned... soon I hope!

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