As you advance in sky gazing and astronomy, your telescope sessions will become more evolved, incorporating other tools as you explore the skies. Other times, you may conduct simple sessions that only require the basics. The biggest issue with this is finding a telescope that can go both ways. Both Celestron NexStar4SE and 6SE are top contenders for best telescope for all users. Here is Celestron NexStar 4se Vs Celestron NexStar 6se.
Dealing with telescopes, their maintenance and use for 6 years at my local college has equipped me with a lot of knowledge regarding said instruments. At first, I didn’t know a thing about telescopes, but I have interacted with these devices and learnt a lot about their use and their purchase. Now I have a telescope collection at home and yes, booth the 4SE and 6SE are on it. They are both from this NexStar SE line and have very many similarities. Interestingly, these telescopes are built not just for beginners but also incorporate advanced features to accommodate more seasoned users. However, there are very distinct differences between their design, function and capabilities that make you wonder how suitable each instrument is for both parties: beginners and non beginners. Here is a critical review and comparison of Celestron NexStar 4se And Celestron NexStar 6SE for further insight.
What are the differences between the Celestron NexStar 4se and the Celestron NexStar 6se?
CELESTRON NEXSTAR 4SE
CELESTRON NEXSTAR 6SE
Type of telescope
Hybrid telescope with Maksutov-Cassegrain Optic system
Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope style
Aperture 102mm or 4 inches, 1325mm Focal length, f/13 Focal ratio and 241X, 15X as highest and lowest useful magnification.
Aperture 6 inches, 1500mm Focal length, f/10 focal ratio.
21X as the lowest useful magnification and 354X as highest theoretically useful magnification
Fully Automated GoTo mount
Automated Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm
Celestron NexStar 4se Vs Celestron NexStar 6SE – How these telescopes compare
Type of telescope and working principle
The obvious difference between the 4SE and 6SE is that the former is a Maksutov-Cassegrain while the former is a Schmidt Cassegrain. While technically both catadioptric Cassegrains, they have very distinct design differences. For instance, the Schmidt Cassegrain telescope types which are a compound type of telescope. They primarily function by which both mirrors and lenses to manipulate the optics to form an image. Usually, light will enter the aspheric correcting lens and then it is reflected by the primary mirror upwards where it is intercepted by a secondary mirror. Finally, this light is reflected out through an opening at the back of the device. An Image can be viewed through the eye piece which is right above the focuser.
Alternatively, Maksutov Cassegrain telescope types rely on a combination of lenses and mirrors to function. A unique correcting lens with a thick meniscus is used to alter the MAK design and distinguish it from the Schmidt Cassegrain style, to which it is closely related. Some of the advantages of this style of telescope include a more compact design and minimal chromatic aberration. Usually, MAK style telescopes rarely need alignment: which is great news for any beginners who aren’t comfortable with adjustment or even set you yet.
While they might seem like they have the same Celestron Alt-AZ GoTo mount, the 6SE mount has some capabilities that the 4SE does not. For example, the auto guider port on the mount of the 6SE that isn’t on the 4SE or the SLR camera port on the 4SE that isn’t on the 6SE.
Additionally, the standard Celestron NexStar SE purchase includes a steel tripod; however, the 4SE uses the wedge pod tripod that incorporates a built in wedge that comes in handy during astroimaging among other activities. The 6SE, in addition to the 8SE, utilizes a different steel tripod model: the 93593 tripod.
Speaking of astrophotography capabilities, the Celestron NexStar 4SE is equipped with unique ports including the SLR camera port to connect a digital SLR camera for astrophotography. With this feature you can take timed exposures in series of the desired object. However, you will need to specify exposure timing after which the telescope will GoTo every desired object in turn taking the image on your camera. Alternatively the 6SE requires that you pair it with the appropriate devices e.g. DSLR or CCD camera or even Celestron’s recommended Skyris cameras for the purpose of astrophotography.
While both these telescopes are marketed as suited for both beginners and non beginners, the 6SE has a slight upper hand when it comes to advanced technologies. This includes the latest versions of Celestron’s new features. Additionally it is more capable and accommodating towards activities that require high tech accessories. For example, the 4SE doesn’t include the auto guider port on the 6SE.
Celestron NexStar 4se Vs Celestron NexStar 6SE – A comparison review
Celestron NexStar 4SE – Overview and key features
As the name indicates, the 4SE is a 4inch aperture telescope that may be the first of its name but is updated with a variety of Celestron’s best features. Coupled with its compact form and easy to use design, this 4 inch instrument packs a punch like you wouldn’t expect. Here are some of the features that make this functionality possible.
The NexStar 4SE is a Maksutov Cassegrain style telescope with a 102mm or 4inch aperture on the primary mirror. While it might seem small, this 4inch aperture instrument has impressive light gathering capabilities. This is partially thanks to the StarBirght XLT optical coating used on the optics of this device. It is also Celestron’s first Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope style to feature this optical coating. With a 1325mm focal length and f/13 focal ratio, the 4SE will allow great views of the moon and planets. Additionally, the aluminum optical tube housing these optical instruments is updated with the most relevant features that allow beginners and seasons observers to utilize .Because this is a Maksutov Cassegrain style telescope, you won’t need to maintain the optics as frequently as you would other styles of telescopes.
In terms of the mount, the NexStar 4SE is equipped with a computerized GoTo Alt-Az mount. It is coupled with Celestron’s Sky align system that will point to and tack all the objects in its 40K celestial object database. We are talking thousands of stars, nebular, clusters, among other celestial objects in minutes. In order to use this feature, you must center 3 bright objects in your eyepiece and the press the ALIGN button.
Breaking down and reassembling this telescope is quite the easy task. This is all thanks to their revolutionary singe arm fork mount that when coupled with their sturdy steel tripod is an unbeatable combination. Features like the Sky Sync and Star Sense Auto align are a treat to all advanced users. Like all other NexStar SE telescopes, the NexStar 4SE comes with access to the Starry night Astronomy software that is planetarium level software all users can utilize. Celestron provides all the support you might need through their website or even via phone.
If you are interested in astrophotography, the built in wedge on the 4SE tripod allows this instrument compatibility with other devices for astroimaging purposes. Thanks to the included shutter release cable and camera control you can take exposures with an SLT camera remotely. This instrument is powered by 8 AA batteries which are sheltered in an internal battery compartment which effectively prevents cords wrapping during use.
What we like
- Includes the high transmission XLT optical coating
- Comes with the RS-232 cable and NexRemote software which allow you to access your telescope from the computer
- Allows access to thousands of images and renderings of stars, galaxies among other celestial wonders that are well cataloged to ensure you get through them correctly, and by name
- Easy to set up and use
- Lightweight scope that is both compact and portable
- Makes accommodations for astrophotography and astroimaging
What we don’t like
- You might quickly outgrow this telescope
What can you see with the Celestron NexStar 4SE?
- Saturn’s rings
- Jupiter’s bands
- Stars in the Hercules globular cluster
- Lunar surface features
Celestron NexStar 6SE- Overview and key features
Celestron cleverly designed the 6SE as a combination of advanced features with great optics on an easy to use system. There are many components of this instrument that make it great for beginners and even better for advancing users. Here are some of the key features on the Celestron NexStar 6SE.
Some of the optics specifications on this instrument include the following: a 6 inch aperture on the primary mirror, a 1500mm focal length and f/10 focal ratio. With these, the telescope can achieve a 60X magnification using the 25mm eyepiece. The maximum magnification however on this instrument is 354X while the lowest limit is 21X. Unfortunately, the secondary mirror in this Schmidt Cassegrain style scope has a 14%, by area, obstruction. In order to improve performance on the optics on this model, the later are coated with the StarBright XLT optical coating.
Like all its predecessors, the 6SE utilizes Celestron’s unique single fork mount. This revolutionary mount is meant to simplify set ups and takedowns after sessions. Moreover, the entire instrument breaks down into single manageable components. This is great news for the adventurous user who might want to go camping, or move the telescope around the house. Thanks to bonus additions like the Sky Align technologies, alignment is so much easier with the 6SE. To align the NexStar 6SE, you will have to center three bright objects the press the ALIGN BUTTON.
Speaking of advanced users, the NexStar is equipped for with various technologies and compatibilities that advanced users can utilize. For example, astrophotography with wide field and deep sky imaging is possible by simply replacing the secondary mirror with a camera or DSLR. Additionally this telescope will generate impressive images of various celestial objects. This telescope purchase often includes free access to the Starry night software for astronomy. It is available for both Mac and PC options.
An additional Sky Sync GPS accessory allows you to access the data from orbiting GPS satellites for enhanced alignment. The 6SE is true to its line and bears the traditional orange optical tube steadfastly held by a stainless steel tripod with a50.8mm tripod leg diameter. With a total assembled weight of 30lbs, this SCT style instrument is made for high functionality with extreme portability.
What we like
- With the 6inch primary mirror, you can observe many important solar system constituents
- Part of the iconic orange tube series, for which Celestron is known
- Compatible with accessories many advanced users will appreciate
- Several great features for advanced users including SkySync GPS for high functionality alignment
- Star Sense Auto-Align which is the telescopes automatic alignment function
What we don’t like
- Price is a bit on the higher side
What you can see with the NexStar 6SE
- Craters of the moon with diameters as small as 1600m
- Saturn’s rings, cloud belts and even moon
- Jupiter’s moons ad belts
- The globular cluster core and other detailing in nebulas
- Mars and her clouds or even dust storms
- Asteroids and stars with a 13.4 magnitude
Verdict: so which is better? Celestron NexStar 4se or Celestron NexStar 6se?
Based on all the features both instruments have to offer, they are both great for beginners interested in picking up sky gazing. However, the 6SE is better than the 4SE for all users as it is equipped option as it has better advancements to accommodate more seasoned users.
Frequently asked questions
Which is the best Celestron for Beginner users?
Depending on what level of beginner you are, or what your interests are with Celestron telescopes, this answer could vary. However, Celestron engineers many of these telescopes to be extremely user and beginner friendly. The SE and SLT series of telescopes for example are well equipped to handle both beginners and seasoned users satisfactorily.
What is the difference with viewing on the 6SE vs. the 4SE?
It is difficult to state specifically the difference in viewing using various telescopes. However, using information like optic system, optic capabilities and such, we can compare each instruments capabilities and limitations.
Can I use the 4SE for astroimaging?
The Celestron NexStar 4SE is equipped with unique ports including the SLR camera port to connect a digital SLR camera for astrophotography. However, it isn’t as equipped as other telescopes in astrophotography.