Celestron NexStar 5SE GoTo Telescope Review: Unveiling the Night Sky’s Secrets

The Celestron Nexstar 5SE is a revered name in the realm of amateur astronomy. This computerized telescope has captured the attention of both novice and seasoned astronomers alike. In this in-depth review, we will explore every aspect of the Nexstar 5SE, from its design and optical performance to its suitability for astrophotography. Let’s embark on this celestial journey and find out if the Nexstar 5SE lives up to its reputation.

Key Takeaways

What Our Tester Says:

“The Nexstar 5SE is a celestial delight. Its precision, ease of use, and impressive optics make it a top choice for both amateurs and experienced astronomers.”

Expert Opinion:
Dr. Sarah Mitchell, an astrophysicist with over a decade of experience, shares her insights:

“The Nexstar 5SE’s blend of accessibility and advanced features makes it an invaluable tool for astronomical exploration.”

What Customers Say:
Customer reviews consistently praise the Nexstar 5SE for its performance, reliability, and value for money.

Pros and Cons

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s start with a summary of the key strengths and weaknesses of the Celestron Nexstar 5SE.


  • User-friendly computerized system.
  • Impressive optics for its size.
  • Portability and convenience.
  • Wide range of compatible accessories.
  • Excellent value for money.


  • Limited for serious astrophotography.
  • Learning curve for beginners.
  • Batteries required for field use.

Overall Rating

We’ll provide a snapshot of the Nexstar 5SE’s performance by rating it in five key categories on a scale of 1 to 5 stars:

  • Ease of use and setup: ★★★★☆
  • Build quality and durability: ★★★★☆
  • Portability and convenience: ★★★★☆
  • Accessories and additional features: ★★★★☆

Product Specifications

Before we proceed, let’s take a closer look at the technical specifications of the Celestron Nexstar 5SE. These specifications are essential for understanding the telescope’s capabilities.

Type of telescopeSchmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture size127mm (5 inches)
Focal length1250mm
Mount typeComputerized Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm
Eyepiece specifications25mm eyepiece included, 1.25″ diameter
Weight15 lbs (6.8 kg)
PortabilityEasily transportable with its compact design

With the technical specifications in mind, let’s move on to Part 2, where we’ll explore the design and build quality of the Nexstar 5SE telescope.

Celestron Nestar 5SE Design and Build Quality

The Celestron Nexstar 5SE is a marvel of design and engineering. Its Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube is perched gracefully on a single fork arm altazimuth mount, which allows for smooth, 360-degree tracking of celestial objects. This design not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also ensures precise movements for accurate observations.

The build quality is top-notch, with durable materials that guarantee longevity. While the Nexstar 5SE is relatively lightweight, it doesn’t compromise on stability during observations. This robust construction minimizes vibrations, ensuring your views of the night sky remain steady and clear.

One aspect worth noting is the telescope’s power source. It operates on eight AA batteries, a convenience for field use. However, for frequent stargazers, investing in rechargeable batteries is recommended for cost-efficiency and eco-friendliness.

Considerations Before Purchase

The Nexstar 5SE caters to a broad spectrum of astronomers, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts. Its user-friendly computerized system simplifies celestial navigation, making it an excellent choice for newcomers. However, be prepared for a learning curve as you unlock its full potential.

For specific astronomical interests, the Nexstar 5SE is versatile. Whether you’re interested in observing planets, lunar features, or exploring deep-sky objects, this telescope has you covered. However, if astrophotography is your primary focus, it’s essential to understand its limitations, which we’ll discuss later in the review.

Assembly and Setup

One of the Nexstar 5SE’s standout features is its ease of assembly. It arrives preassembled, and you’ll only need a few basic tools to complete the setup. Celestron provides a comprehensive user manual that guides you through the assembly and initial calibration process. Additionally, there are ample online resources and instructional support available to ensure a smooth start to your stargazing journey.

Optical Performance

Now, let’s shift our focus to the heart of any telescope – its optics. The Nexstar 5SE doesn’t disappoint in this department. With a 5-inch aperture, it gathers a substantial amount of light, resulting in clear and detailed images. In our observations, celestial objects such as the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn revealed impressive levels of detail and sharpness.

The telescope’s performance remains consistent even in light-polluted urban areas, thanks to its compact design and computerized tracking. Magnification capabilities are more than sufficient, with the included 25mm eyepiece providing a solid starting point. However, for more precise targeting of specific celestial objects, you may want to explore additional eyepiece options.

The quality of lenses and mirrors is commendable, delivering crisp and contrast-rich views. Whether you’re exploring lunar craters or gazing at distant galaxies, the Nexstar 5SE provides a satisfying visual experience.

In the next section, we’ll assess the usability and comfort aspects of this telescope.

Usability, Features, and More

Ease of Use

The Celestron Nexstar 5SE excels in user-friendliness. Its computerized system simplifies celestial navigation, allowing even beginners to locate and track celestial objects effortlessly. The included hand controller provides access to a vast database of celestial targets, making stargazing an enjoyable and educational experience.


Extended stargazing sessions can be physically taxing, but the Nexstar 5SE prioritizes user comfort. The eyepiece’s eye relief and ergonomic design ensure a relaxed viewing experience, even during prolonged observations. The telescope’s stability and adjustability further enhance comfort, allowing users to fine-tune their viewing angles with ease.

Functionality and Features

The Nexstar 5SE comes equipped with a host of features that enhance the overall observing experience:

  • Computerized Controls: The telescope’s computerized system offers precise tracking and alignment. It simplifies the process of locating and identifying celestial objects.
  • GPS Functionality: The built-in GPS module automatically determines your location, ensuring accurate alignment and tracking.
  • Accessory Compatibility: Celestron offers a wide range of accessories, from eyepieces to filters, allowing users to customize their observing experience.
  • Smartphone Compatibility: With the Nexstar 5SE, you can connect your smartphone for a more interactive stargazing experience. Various apps are available to control the telescope remotely and aid in celestial object identification.
  • Upgradability: As your interest in astronomy grows, the Nexstar 5SE can evolve with you. Consider adding equatorial wedges or more advanced eyepieces for enhanced performance.

Mount Performance and Practical Considerations

The Nexstar 5SE’s mount is a critical component of its performance. It provides smooth and precise tracking, ensuring that celestial objects remain in your field of view. While the altazimuth mount is excellent for visual observations, it has limitations for astrophotography. Astrophotographers may need to invest in an equatorial mount for long-exposure imaging.

In terms of power requirements, the telescope’s battery-powered operation is convenient for field use. However, for extended sessions, especially in cold weather, it’s advisable to use an external power source or rechargeable batteries to prevent interruptions.

Aligning the Celestron NexStar 5SE for Accurate GoTo Tracking

To align the Celestron NexStar 5SE:

  • Center an alignment star in the eyepiece.
  • Utilize the hand control to select the sky alignment that fits your conditions.
  • Input the date, time, and location as prompted.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to align additional stars for improved accuracy.

Performance in Different Scenarios

Astronomical Observations

The Nexstar 5SE is a versatile telescope suitable for various astronomical observations. It excels in planetary and lunar observations, providing high-resolution views of celestial objects. Users can easily explore the Moon’s surface features, the rings of Saturn, and the cloud bands of Jupiter.


While the Nexstar 5SE can capture planetary images, it faces limitations for deep-sky astrophotography. The altazimuth mount restricts exposure times, making it challenging to capture long-exposure images of faint deep-sky objects. Enthusiastic astrophotographers may opt for equatorial mounts for astrophotography ambitions.

Daytime Terrestrial Viewing

The telescope’s versatility extends beyond celestial objects. It can be used for daytime terrestrial viewing, making it a dual-purpose instrument for nature enthusiasts.

Durability and Maintenance

Celestron is known for its quality craftsmanship, and the Nexstar 5SE is no exception. Built with robust materials, it withstands the rigors of outdoor use. Maintenance requirements are minimal, primarily involving routine cleaning of optics and occasional lubrication of moving parts.

Celestron backs the Nexstar 5SE with a reliable warranty, and their customer support is known for its responsiveness and helpfulness.

Price and Value for Money

When evaluating the Nexstar 5SE’s price, it’s essential to consider its performance and features. While it may not be the most budget-friendly option in its category, its combination of ease of use, portability, and impressive optics offers excellent value for money.

To help you make an informed decision, here’s a comparison with similar models:

Telescope ModelAperture SizeMount TypeAstrophotographyPrice Range
Celestron Nexstar 5SE127mm (5″)AltazimuthLimited$$
Celestron Nexstar 6SE150mm (6″)AltazimuthLimited$$$
Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro150mm (6″)EquatorialExcellent$$$

Choose the model that aligns with your specific needs and budget.

Astrophotography Suitability

For those interested in both visual observation and astrophotography, it’s crucial to manage expectations. While the Nexstar 5SE can capture impressive planetary images, it’s not designed for deep-sky astrophotography due to its altazimuth mount. Consider equatorial mounts for astrophotography ambitions.

Alternative Telescope Recommendations

For Beginners

  1. Celestron Nexstar 4SE: Ideal for beginners, it offers a similar user-friendly experience with a slightly smaller aperture at a lower price point.

For Enthusiasts

  1. Celestron Nexstar 6SE: With a larger aperture, it provides enhanced views of celestial objects. Suitable for those looking for more detailed observations.
  2. Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro: If you’re serious about astrophotography, consider this equatorial mount telescope with excellent stability and tracking capabilities.

Aftermarket Accessory Recommendations

To enhance your stargazing experience, consider adding the following accessories:

  • Additional Eyepieces: A range of eyepieces for different magnifications and views.
  • Filters: Filters for enhancing planetary and lunar observations.
  • Power Tank: An external power source for longer sessions.
  • Smartphone Adapter: Connect your smartphone for astrophotography and sky exploration apps.

Considerations for Used Telescopes

When purchasing a used Nexstar 5SE or any telescope, consider the following:

  • Condition: Inspect the telescope’s condition, including the optics, mount, and accessories.
  • Warranty: Check if any remaining warranty is transferable.
  • Accessories: Ensure that all essential accessories are included.
  • Price: Compare the used price to the current retail price for a good deal.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, the Celestron Nexstar 5SE is a versatile and user-friendly telescope that caters to a broad audience of astronomers. Its combination of ease of use, portability, and impressive optics makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced users. While it has limitations for serious astrophotography, it excels in visual observations and planetary imaging.

For beginners and enthusiasts looking for an accessible and rewarding telescope, the Nexstar 5SE is a solid choice. However, serious astrophotographers may want to explore options with equatorial mounts for long-exposure imaging.

Ultimately, the Celestron Nexstar 5SE offers a gateway to the wonders of the universe and is an investment in your celestial exploration journey. Choose the telescope that aligns with your interests and embark on a thrilling adventure under the stars.

With this comprehensive review, we hope you’re better equipped to make an informed decision about the Nexstar 5SE and your astronomical pursuits. Happy stargazing!