Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope Review

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The Celestron NexStar 6SE is the second-largest telescope in the NexStar computerized telescope line. It increases its size and functionality while continuing to supply the same quality that you have come to expect from Celestron. The Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope is a large and powerful telescope with equally powerful upgrades to make it a force to be reckoned with in the telescope space today.

Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope Review


  • Schmidt-Cassegrain design
  • 6” primary Aperture
  • f/10 focal ratio
  • 354x highest theoretical magnification
  • 30lbs assembled weight

Celestron attempts to blend the perfect mixture of technology, power, and affordability with the 6SE model and gets pretty close to an ideal mix. It is a little heftier than the other two smaller models, which cut down on its portability, but it also adds a decent amount of power over the next most small 5SE model.

  • Incredible power and image quality
  • An impressive suite of technology features
  • Less than a thousand dollars
  • Sucks up a lot of power
  • Alignment issues
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Large Aperture = Large Views

The 6” primary aperture on this Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is an excellent size for capturing the wonders of our galaxy and beyond. 

Once you get over 5” in diameter for the primary Aperture of any telescope, you start to get into what I consider large-bore telescopes, and that is where the best light gathering ability starts coming into play. 

The Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope has 20% more power than the 5SE model and a whopping 50% more power than the 4SE model. 

If you are looking to get the most ability out of a NexStar telescope without getting too massive, then the 6SE is the telescope you need to be considering. 

Typically, what you see in these more astronomical aperture telescopes is that the focal ratio starts dropping the bigger the Aperture gets. That is especially true of real reflector telescopes. 

The difference here is that the Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope is a Schmidt-Cassegrain design and not a pure reflector. What this means that it can support a more average focal ratio even as the aperture size gets larger.

The focal ratio of f/10 is much higher than you usually see from a telescope of this size. So this comes with some unique benefits. A middle of the road focal ratio combined with this kind of light gathering ability is going to allow you to see the structure of massive galactic sights much more apparent.

NexStar 6SE Computerized Telescope Tour

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For example, you will be able to see the individual arms of a distant spiral galaxy or the vibrant colors of a nebula. The reason for this may be because the focal angle is narrower than some other reflectors. This will bring these individual objects more into focus than a telescope with a lower focal ratio.

So this makes this telescope great for looking at specific distant objects and can show you some truly stunning details that other telescopes just can’t see. 

The difference that the Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope offers is the amount of detail it can show of those truly massive and distant objects. Other telescopes will be able to get some fuzzy looks at distant star clusters, but this one is going to give you all of the detail you crave. 

Not only that, but the image quality of this telescope is off the charts. Your jaw is going drop when you see the amount of structure and color this telescope can show you of things you never expected you would ever be able to see from your backyard.

The optical tube is supported by an innovative one-armed fork design that is much easier to adjust and handle than the similar two armed fork design. The one-armed fork allows you to take the optical tube off the base for cleaning, adjustments, or travel easily without the headache and hassle of other designs. The 6SE is one innovation of many that Celestron has brought to the table.

The optical features of this telescope pairs amazingly with the suite of technology that Celestron has packed into this telescope.

Combining Form and Function

The Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope is in a high position to take the best advantage of the database and computerized functions of the NexStar telescopes. The amount of power, image quality, and portability offered here pairs amazingly with the modern amenities that Celestron has put into this telescope.

The most important and most impressive feature is Celestron’s curated database of over 40,000 celestial objects that come preprogrammed into a remote that comes included. That means right out of the box, your telescope is going to know about thousands of celestial objects and also have the ability to display them correctly.

You could strap this database onto every telescope out there on the market, and only a handful of them are going to be able to utilize it effectively. The Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope is one such telescope. Creating an extensive database for the sake of creating something large and impressive is one thing, but creating such a massive database and then creating a telescope that can show all of the objects properly is another thing entirely. 

The database contains everything from individual stars, nebula, galaxies, star clusters, planets, and moons. The handy remote control separates all of the objects via category and allows you to browse through and pick an object quickly.

Then what?

Once you pick an object, the rest of the computerized features come into play. The Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope also comes with a fully computerized goto mount, which uses a manual altazimuth base to move into position based on whatever object you pick. 

The reason why this is all possible because of the handy SkyAlign program allows the telescope to orient itself based on three different bright objects in the night sky. If you can point and focus the telescope on some of the most basic shiny objects above, then your telescope can quickly learn where the star is located and align itself properly according to the database.

Pick an object from the handy controller, align the telescope using three bright objects visible in the sky, wait for the telescope to adjust itself, and find the chosen object. Then you are ready to view whatever you picked. If you want to keep the object in view for an extended viewing session, the telescope even tracks it across the sky for you so it won’t drift out of the eyepiece. 

These three things create a beast of a setup that is impressive. When it is all working correctly, the whole system together is a marvel to watch in action. It makes you realize how far technology has come in the last decade.

The Ghost in the Machine

With any technology that is driven by software or other programs, there is the potential for glitches. This system is no different. When it is all working correctly, the experience is nothing short of magical, but there have been some hang-ups. 

The biggest hang-up can be found in the SkyAlign system. A lot of users report having issues getting the SkyAlign to recognize the objects being shown to it. This can be frustrating, especially for a novice user, to point your telescope at the North Star and have it not register what it is looking at in the telescope.

SkyAlign is advertised as being super easy to use. Still, whether it is a user error or a focusing issue, sometimes the program does not work as intended, which can delay or throw off your plans to have a computerized viewing session on a given night. 

The other issues that were less commonly reported had to do with software glitches or firmware problems. So this would cause the controller and the mount not to communicate properly, leading to frustrating situations where nothing worked quite right. The reason for this is simply a byproduct of having such a technology-heavy piece of equipment.

Software and firmware problems did not crop up as often as SkyAlign issues, but some people still had issues with it. 

Manual Is Still an Option

The machines have not taken over completely yet. If all of this technology stuff is putting you off, don’t worry, you can still operate this telescope fully manually. The basic functionality of the telescope is still all physical and not computerized. If you turn off the goto amount, you are left with a fully capable manual altazimuth mount. 

That means if you ever run out of juice or get frustrated by a glitch, you can still use the telescope as intended. The technology is just bonus features to an already great scope of its own. 

Running Out of Juice

The Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope runs on AA batteries right out of the box. This can be a good thing for people who don’t want to plug their telescope in or who like to travel with their optical equipment. However, it is widely reported that this telescope drains batteries pretty fast, so you need to stock up on a hefty supply to keep yourself going for a long night of viewing using all of the mechanical features. 

Celestron offers a rechargeable battery pack and a dedicated power source, but they are extra accessories that cost extra money. This is kind of a bummer considering you are already spending a decent amount of cash on this telescope. 

It can be frustrating to burn through AA batteries quickly. I own some equipment that eats batteries, and you never really know how much juice is left when it’s burning through power so quickly. If you plan on using this telescope frequently, I would suggest investing in the rechargeable battery pack or the power source to ease these frustrations.

Included Accessories

It is a little disappointing that Celestron could not add in one of their other power options that are less annoying than pure AA battery use into their telescope kit. However, there are still plenty of accessories that come included. 

Celestron has included a 25mm Plossl eyepiece, a red dot finderscope and a mirror star diagonal. This is on top of the tripod, database remote, and computerized mount that all already come included.

It is not the most robust set of accessories available, but it gets the job done. If it weren’t for the technology accessories, I would say it is one the short side, but the high tech add-ons make up for the shortage of traditional telescope accessories. 

The red dot finderscope is an excellent addition because if you ever want to use this telescope manually without the assistance of the computerized stuff, the finder scope is going to be a valuable tool. It is tough to line this telescope up without the aid of something like the red dot finderscope. 

It has everything you need to get started and use this telescope right away. You might need to fill in some holes down the road like with an additional eyepiece or new power source, but overall it gets the job done. 


Celestron has offered us yet another outstanding addition to the NexStar lineup with the Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope. This one is bigger and better than the 4SE and the 5SE but costs a bit more money and is less portable than the other smaller models in this lineup. Overall, it is one of the best overall telescopes Celestron has made to date. 

I think that this telescope will appeal to a large portion of the astronomy community due to its amazing optical quality and useful selection of technology. This telescope can utilize the database to its full extent and offer some genuinely detailed and amazing views of the universe. The aperture size and focal ratio hit a sweet spot rarely found in most telescopes, and it comes highly recommended. 

Whether you are a beginner looking for a telescope to show you the universe first hand or whether you are an intermediate looking to explore the deeper depths of the world, the Celestron NexStar 6SE has the chops to entertain and amaze astronomers of all kinds and why we also included it in Best Telescopes Under $1000.