The Best Catadioptric Telescope for Beginners

Celestron NexStar 4SE050234110495_NexStar_4SE_11049_1


Celestron NEXSTAR 4SE

  • Maksutov-Cassegrain design
  • Mirror with StarBright XLT coating
  • GoTo tracking system with nearly 40,000 objects
  • Creates custom astronomy walks
  • Easy to use
  • The motor and GPS run on eight AA batteries (not included)
  • Ideal for astrophotography
  • Supplied with NextRemote “Sky” Level 1 softwareStrong altazimuth tripod
  • Best place to buy: Amazon
  • My Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Definitely this type of telescopes are my favorite.  They are small, compact and at the same time quite powerful. Catadioptrics  are mix between reflector and refractor, and they are great for  watching the moon and planets as well as deep space discoveries. Ground based observations too! I can’t skip another big advantage- they are most suitable for astrophotography. I should also note that Hubble telescope  is a close cousin called a Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain and is very suitable for taking pictures of wide areas of starlight with very little distortion.

Personally, I think  Celestron NexStar 4SE is a really good telescope for beginners of this kind. It is small enough and can even fit in a backpack, is relatively lightweight and its opportunities  are really huge. Let have a look closely.



Celestron NexStar is part of the series NexStar which is known for high-quality finish in development of telescopes and the use of fine hand selected optics. This also applies to our NexStar 4SE. This is Catadioptric telescope of type Maskutov Kassergain with  102mm (4,02 in) aperture. The body of the telescope is made of high quality aluminum. His big focal length (1325 mm) makes NexStar 4SE suitable for observing objects even in deep space. And with the help of the Red Dot Star Pointer  you will not have any trouble finding celestial bodies.

This telescope goes with one 25mm eyepiece, 1.25inches in diameter. Considering the focal length you can achieve magnification of about 53 times, but you can always buy  additional eyepieces and  have even much more.

The 102mm mirror has StarBright Celestron XLT coverage. This coating spreads the light evenly  and increases its collection  which in turn enhances  sharpness of the images. Among other ingredients Celestron use aluminum, titanium and magnesium in making the cover of the mirror making it as efficiently and strong as can be.         

 GoTo function


This telescope is computerized and equipped with complete Goto system. This system is extremely useful and what it does is to automatically search celestial bodies for you. There are about  40,000 pre-programmed celestial objects and depending of the date and your location will select the most appropriate for observing . This will make your stargazing much more easy and fun. The functionality of GoTo also features with one more brilliant aspect – SkyAlign. With this instrument  only thing you have to do to align your telescope is to point 3 celestial bodies without even knowing them. It is also possible  to seek celestial objects yourself and store them in the memory so you can watch them again another time. To do all this NexStar 4SE  has remote control with LED display.

If you want try to photograph what you watch let me tell you that this is the best astrophotography telescope for beginners as NexStar 4SE has an option for camera control. It will help you to make a series of long  exposure photos with your DSLR camera. Just do not try to mount a very heavy camera on this small telescope-with  oddly weighted mount is less likely to make good and sharp images.


050234110495_NexStar_4SE_11049_10The tripod you get is very easy to assemble and disassemble. It is an altazimuth tripod and the legs are stainless steel. On the tripod is mounted  the motor which is controlled entirely by computer and with its help you can easily trace objects in the Universe.



          Help and Support

The website of Celestron is one of the best sites for beginner astronomers. You will find everything you need for your  NexStar 4SE – supporting videos, downloads,  even digital version of the instructions for the telescope.


No matter if you are away from the city and stare at a distant galaxy, or just in the backyard and admire the moon, I’m sure you will have unforgettable moments with NexStar 4SE extending  your Love to the Universe.

Here are two photos made by 4SE



Check the current price

Alternative sizes:    NexStar 6SE     NexStar 8SE



Optical DesignMaksutov-Cassegrain
Aperture (mm)102 mm (4.02 in)
Focal Length1325 mm (52 in)
Focal Ratio13
Focal Length of Eyepiece 1 (mm)25 mm (0.98 in)
Magnification of Eyepiece 153 x
Star DiagonalInternal Flip mirror for straight thru or 90 viewing angle
Mount TypeSingle Fork Arm Altazimuth
TripodSteel with built-in wedge
Power Requirements8-AA batteries (not included)
Highest Useful Magnification241 x
Lowest Useful Magnification15 x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude12.5
Resolution (Rayleigh)1.37 arc seconds
Resolution (Dawes)1.14 arc seconds
Light Gathering Power (Compared to human eye)212 x
Apparent Field of View1 °
Linear Field of View (@1000 yds)53 ft (16 m)
Secondary Mirror Obstruction1.38 in (35 mm)
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Diameter34%
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Area12%
Optical CoatingsStarBright XLT
Optical Tube Length13.5 in (343 mm)
Total Telescope Kit Weight11 lbs (4.99 kg)
Tripod Weight10 lbs (4.54 kg) lbs (4.54 kg)
Slew SpeedsNine slew speeds
Tracking RatesSidereal, Solar and Lunar
Tracking ModesAlt-Az, EQ North & EQ South
Alignment ProceduresSkyAlign, Auto 2-Star Align, 1-Star Align, 2-Star Align, SolarSystem Align
Communication PortsRS-232 communication port on hand control, Aux port, Camera Control port
Computer Hand ControlDouble line, 16 character Liquid Crystal Display with 19 fiber optic backlit LED buttons
Database38,181 accessible objects
Warranty2-year Telescope Warranty


8 Responses

  • Wow, what an awesome review on the Celestron NEXSTAR 4SE.

    My wife and I have been considering buying a telescope for some time now and finally getting into astronomy.

    This looks like a great telescope that is within our budget.

    Thanks so much for the recommendation and we look forward to using it!

    • Yes, It’s pretty amazing telescope. I have the same but 6 inches – NEXSTAR 6SE. Once you get it you will never regret! It’s very good choice for first telescope!

      Thanks for comment,


  • Yes I love telescopes in general, because anything that enables me to get closer to the stars is something that I just enjoy alot.

    I really think the Celestron NEXSTAR 4SE is great, it gives great quality and range while also running on AA batteries which mean it won’t drain loads of energy.

    Thanks for letting me know about this as I’m definitely considering getting one 🙂

    • Hello Marley 🙂

      Yeah, the Telescopes are amazing toys! Yesterday I spend more than a hour looking in the craters on the Moon. It is experience that the words can’t describe and only Telescope can provide.

      I have Celestron Nexstar for more than 7 years and it is steel one o the best telescopes on the market today. So if you are going to buy, this one is very good choice.

      Thanks for the comment and if you have some questions about it – I’m here to help!


  • I would like to get into astronomy but I really need a telescope. This one is super cute and adorable but do have one question. I don’t mean to sound ignorant because I am just starting out my search, but shouldn’t it be longer or does that not really matter?

    • Hi Adriana, and thanks for the comment.

      You don’t sound ignorant, I was thinking like you when I got mine NexStar – isn’t too short? But this is a Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope and that kind of optical system allows the tube to be short and at the same time very very powerful. I use the same word – cute. Definitely the Catadioptric Telescopes are the cutest one from all!


  • Wow this telescope looks great. Sure does beat the giant thing my dad and I would look through when I was a kid. I can’t believe there are go to functions that will actually find celestial bodies for you. I have been wanting to get more into astronomy and this telescope would be a great start. Its really helpful and good to know that Celestron offers a website with videos and downloads.

    • Hi Katie and thank you for the comment.

      I have this Telescope at home but the 6 inches one, and I’m telling you – it’s a great machine! I love it! Has a special place in my heart already.

      The function Sky Align is amazing. I wouldn’t see so much of the night sky without it. It works so simple: you just set the time, date and the location, then you just point 3 bright objects in the sky and that’s it it’s. All done. The telescope will find everything for you.

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