Home Comparisons Celestron Nexstar 5Se And Celestron Nexstar 6Se- The Better Option For Advancing Beginners

Celestron Nexstar 5Se And Celestron Nexstar 6Se- The Better Option For Advancing Beginners

by Rizka Amir
Celestron Nexstar 5Se And Celestron Nexstar 6Se

You cannot tell a good telescope from just looking at it. There are various elements to the telescope design that not only distinguish them, but create fundamental differences in the device and thus the experience. Here is a guide to commonly confused Celestron NexStar 5SE and Celestron NexStar 6SE, for all the tools you need in finding a beginner level telescope while enjoying the process.

As a librarian, the last thing you would expect to hear about from me is telescopes. However, I have been the chairperson of the astronomy club in my town for over 12 years. During these 12 years the club has seen telescope donations, and purchases that have taught me a thing or two about telescopes. Among the most memorable and still favorite options we have in our telescope arsenal is 2 CELESTRON NEXSTAR telescopes from the SE line. At first glance, especially to the untrained eye, these orange tubes look indistinguishable. However, there are many fundamental differences between the 5SE and 6SE. Each of these telescopes represents an upgrade from former predecessors and offers great option for both beginners and professionals to enjoy.


Aperture 125mm or 5 inches, 1250mm Focal length, f/10 Focal ratio.

Comes with the following included accessories : 2 eyepieces (25mm, 9mm) and red dot finder scope

Aperture 6 inches, 1500mm Focal length, f/10 focal ratio. Comes with the following included accessories : 25mm eyepiece, Finderscope
Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope style
Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope style
Automated Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm
Automated Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm


Some of the similarities and differences existing between the 5SE and 6SE include the following:


When speaking about optics in relation to telescopes, we mean the. Coupled with other aspects of the telescope, you can. Before we talk about optics however, it is important to establish the TYPE of telescope. Among the core differences among types of telescopes is due to the different principles used in their construction. Basic telescopes are Reflector types, Refractor types or compound types. In our case, both the Celestron 5SE and the 6SE are 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. Often SCT style telescopes generate inverted images, which shouldn’t be a big deal.


The telescope relies on the eye piece to change the magnification. However, there is a threshold as to how much and how little you should adjust the magnification. Over magnifying for example can cause the image to blur and get worse. Optimal magnification depends on many things including the type of eyepiece on your telescope or even atmospheric conditions.

If you are keen enough during your pre buy research, you will notice the different indicators of upper, and prime magnification levels every telescope comes with. For instance, the 5SE has a 5inch aperture and a magnification of 50X. However, the lowest useful magnification is 18X and the theoretically highest magnification it can achieve is 295X. Alternatively, the 6SE has a magnification of 60X with a 6inch aperture. Additionally, the lowest useful magnification is at 21X, while the highest is 354X.

TIP for Beginners: Almost always, the best views are usually at the lowest power.


How heavy should a telescope be? This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on a number of factors. More advanced telescopes for deep sky viewing are larger and obviously heavier. Simpler telescopes on the other hand are smaller and thus lighter to suit their size. The Celestron NexStar 5SE for example is a reasonable 27lbs making it quite easy for beginners to operate. Likewise, the Celestron NexStar 6SE is a merger 30lbs, same as the 5SE: easy to handle and operate. Often, the size of the aperture will influence the size o the telescope. However, choosing apertures smaller than 4 or 6 inch apertures isn’t always recommendable for anyone looking for a telescope for the purpose of astrophotography.


Because both the Celestron 5SE and 6SE belong to the same line, they come with that iconic orange tube the models on these lines carry. However, you might notice their difference in size as the 6SE has a larger aperture than the 5SE and slightly larger than the 5SE. However, there isn’t much difference in other design elements, although they are modified to suit the later model.


In case you decide you want to do more than visual astronomy, you have the option to take images of various celestial objects. According to Celestron, the 5SE has an equatorial in built wedge which should help to polar align for long exposure photography. However, many astro-imaging experts or enthusiasts often recommend using telescopes with a wide enough aperture. Usually, the smallest measure should be at least 5 inches. The 6SE on the other hand with its 6 inch aperture is good for astrophotography. This telescope is compatible with high tech devices that enable even advanced users to engage in astro photography to different degrees.


CELESTRON NEXSTAR 5SE – Overview and Key Features
NexStar 5SE Computerized TelescopeThe 5SE is a combination of many features and components that make it as an efficient telescope as we know it to be. If you know about elements that go into choosing a telescope, then you know the 5SE is a top option. If you don’t know about these elements, stick around well get to that. For now, the 5SE is a great option for the following reasons.

This Schmidt-Cassegrain type telescope with a inch aperture is made not only to accommodate beginner users, but also accommodate their interests as their knowledge and interest in astronomy continues. Among the favorite capabilities on this model is its quick release and easy use. In fact, this telescope is so easy to assemble and use, anyone can start using it upon arrival. It is a tool free set up which is powered by either a power source or eight double A (8AA) batteries. In addition to the easy to use get up, this telescope is enabled with a fully automated mount and a compact form. Optics wise, the 5SE is equipped with a 125mm or 5inch aperture with a 1250mm focal length and f/10focal ratio.

The telescope is coupled with a database which accommodates over 40k celestial objects. Tracking and locating automatically objects is made easier thanks to the GoTo mount we mentioned earlier. Upon this mount, is a single fork arm unique to this series and a tripod for sturdy experience. Additionally, computerized aspects like the Star align feature will align the telescope without worry. Moreover, you will receive access to the Starry Night Software where you can enjoy interactive sky simulation experiences. You may utilize the camera control feature to time and take a series of exposures remotely.

If you experience an issue or even have a question regarding the telescope, the customer support team is ready and accessible. Apart from this technical support, you will receive an unreal warranty deal.

What we like

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Quite light and very portable
  • Features the Schmidt-Cassegrain optics which offer the device great operation capacity
  • Built in wedge on tripod for easy astrophotography
  • Comes with the XLT StarBright coating for a 56% increase in light gathering capacity
  • Uses the dual axis motors on its mount to allow exact tracking and reduced instances of vibration.

What we don’t like

  • The battery life could be better
  • You will quickly outgrow this telescope especially if you venture into more advanced deep space photography


View price on Amazon


CELESTRON NEXSTAR 6SE – Overview and Key features
NexStar 6SE Computerized TelescopeThe 6SE is yet another member of the iconic Orange tube series officially named the Designed in the famous compound Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope style, the 6-inch, has made a name for itself in the telescope-lovers world. This model has an aperture of 150mm with a 1,500mm focal length. When converted into inches, the aperture is read as 6inches, hence the name.

Focal ratio for any beginner buyers is the ratio between the length and aperture to deliver. The 6SE for example has a FR of f/10 which is what you can expect from such an aperture size, and style of telescope. With its excellent light gathering capabilities, you can rely on this telescope for impressive moon and planet viewing. Additionally, objects like the Orion nebula bad either deep sky objects remain visible while retaining its compact form.

The self align features that help with alignment coupled with all the tracking and locating elements make this device quite easy to use. In fact, thanks to the information sources coupled with the various databases you will have access to upon purchase, anyone can successfully operate this telescope.

If you are interested in documenting your viewing, you can pair this telescope with a camera, they recommend one of their own, and venture into some astrophotography. Alternatively, you could experiment with different forms of astro-imaging thanks to all the capabilities on this telescope.

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

With this telescope, you have the capacity to view the following:

  • 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


View price on Amazon



After an in-depth analysis of both the 5SE and 6SE, the win has to the 6SE. Overall, while the 5SE is a capable telescope, the 6SE has many elements that are great for beginners who plan on evolving their telescope experience from simple visual operations to more complex operations like astrophotography and imaging.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a Cassegrain and a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope?

Cassegrain telescopes are a type of telescope that often combines a mirror at the rear with a lens at the front. Using this system, the mirror acts as the primary surface where incoming light bounces off and on to the lens where it is folded up to the eyepiece.

What are the basic parts of a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope?

In case you missed it, SCT style instruments have a primary mirror at the rear, the secondary mirror, a lens, corrector plate and other components that all work together. This is one of the most popular telescope designs

What kind of eyepiece does the Celestron NexStar 5se use?

The Celstron NexStar is equipped with one 25mm eyepiece/Plossl eyepiece which offers magnification of 50X. It is one of the telescopes more important features and serves the purpose of magnifying the focal plane, are where the real image is formed, of the telescope.

Can you use the 6SE for astrophotography?

Yes you can. This instrument is designed with versatile compatibility to high tech devices that allow all sorts of astrophotography for beginner, intermediate and advanced users. Once you set it up right, the Celestron 6SE is very functional in astroimaging and photography.


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