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Celestron NexStar Evolution Review

The Celestron NexStar Evolution Telescope Series is the latest creation from Celestron.  A multi-year work in progress, the engineers at Celestron have collected the requests of their customers and put them all into one beautiful telescope!  We recently had the opportunity to get hands-on experience with the Celestron NexStar Evolution 8" Telescope.  Our thoughts about those experiences are listed below:

Out of the box the Celestron NexStar 8" Evolution Telescope is impressive! 

Celestron NexStar Evolution Box

Packed in a heavy duty box with a shipping weight of 63.8 pounds,  the Celestron NexStar Evolution 8" comes with
virtually everything you need to get started.  Check out the list of included items below:

  • 8" Celestron SCT Optical Tube with XLT Coatings
  • Celestron NexStar Evolution Mount Head
  • Heavy Duty Tripod with 1.25" Legs
  • Multi-Functional Trpod Spreader / Eyepiece Holder
  • Red Dot Finder
  • NexStar Hand Controller (Not Needed but Included)
  • Hand Controller Holder
  • 1.25" Diagonal
  • 40mm Plossl Eyepiece
  • 13mm Plossl Eyepiece
  • Integrated Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Recharge Power Cord

Assembling the Celestron NexStar Evolution Telescope

Some assembly is required with the Celestron NexStar Evolution but have no's easy!  To prove this we had our least mechanical staff member ( who will remain nameless) build this telescope and it took less then 10 minutes to complete the build.  Celestron has gone to great lengths to streamline this process and it shows.  Some examples of this are the new tripod guidepost and anchor bolt divots.  This combination allows you to easily center the mount on the tripod and ensure that you properly secure the spring loaded anchor bolts of the tripod to the NexStar Evolution mount.  A new but basic feature is the level marks on the lower tripod legs.  This allows you to level the tripod on the first try rather then guessing and repeatedly having to go back and re-adjust the extended height of each tripod leg to ensure a level telescope.  Attaching the optical tube to the mount is as easy as ever.  Taking less then 30 seconds the dovetail plate of the NexStar Evolution optical tube smoothly attaches to the mount head.  All of the accessories (red-dot finder, diagonal, eyepiece, hand controller holder & hand controller holder) can be attached to the scope in less then 60 seconds.  Overall, assembly was very easy and we are confident that anyone can do it!

The Celestron NexStar Evolution Mount

The Celestron NexStar Evolution mount is a thing of genius!  Built with manual clutches, the Evolution is one of the first fork-mounted computerized telescopes under $2,000 that can be used without being powered.  Now you can effortlessly point and shoot this Schmidt-Cassegrain if you like, no power required.  

In addition to manual clutches, Celestron has built three more 1.25" eyepiece storage areas into the mount body.  Talk about being functional, now you have the ability to store up to 6 1.25" eyepieces, one, 2" eyepiece and some astro accessories on the NexStar Evolution!  .  

One of our favorite features is the integrated lithium-ion battery built into the base of the Celestron NexStar Evolution mount.  We mentioned it before but we love it so much that we are mentioning it again.  When you purchase this scope you're going to understand why!

Finally, the mount control pannel includes the power switch, 4 auxillary ports, 1 power port, and a USB port.  This is essentially everything you need to use the Celestron NexStar 8" Evolution Telescope to it's maximum potential.

Celestron 8" NexStar Evolution Optical Tube

Built with legendary Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain Optics, the quality of this telescope is second to none.  Each Celestron 8" OTA is equipped with XLT Coatings, which generates more light and delivers brighter objects to the eyepiece for a more fulfiling observing experience.  All Celestron NexStar 8" Evolution Optical Tubes are Fastar Compatiable.  Fastar allows you to connect a camera to the front of your optical tube with the assistance of an optional HyperStar unit.  Fastar imaging is done at f/2.2 vs traditional f/10 imaging.   

Celestron NexStar Evolution Magic!

Celestron Sky Portal App Screenshot


Its all about the App, Baby!  The Celestron NexStar Evolution Telescope was designed to be controlled by theCelestron SkyPortal Application.  The SkyPortal app is something to behold as it allows you to control the NexStar Evolution from your Android or Apple device.  The SkyPortal uses an intuitive planetarium interface that offers a real time display of the celestial objects that are visible at the exact time you are out with your telescope.  SkyPortal also educates users with enhanced audio functionality that offers the history and science behind hundreds of the most popular celestial objects.  A recomendation engine features the evening's best celestial objects for viewing.  

Using a telescope has never been this much fun!  The Celestron NexStar Evolution and the Celestron SkyPortal deliver an amazing observing experience that virtually everyone will appreciate.lescope.  SkyPortal also educates users with enhanced audio functionality that offers the history and science behind hundreds of the most popular celestial objects.  A recomendation engine features the evening's best celestial objects for viewing. 

Check out the Celestron SkyPortal App Here




Celestron NexStar Evolution Telescope Side Notes

The Celestron NexStar Evolution comes with a hand controller.  If you decide to use this controller you will not be doing your Celestron NexStar Evolution Telescope justice.  The Evolution was built to be operated by the super intuitive SkyPortal app.  More to come on this later.

As basic of a function as it serves, we really like the tripod spreader on the NexStar Evolution.  This spreader holds one 2" eyepiece, three 1.25" eyepieces and other astro accessories.

Lithium-Ion Battery.  Thats need for ac adapters, portable power solutions or expensive disposable batteries;  the Celestron NexStar Evolution comes with an integrated, rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is built into the the telescope mount.  To re-charge the battery all you have to do is plug the charge cable into the wall and connect it to the telescope mount.  That's huge and as you can tell we are really excited about this!

Celestron 8" NexStar Evolution Review - Final Thoughts

We have seen thousands of telescopes go in and out of our shop over the years.  Many are impressive for their own reasons.  However, in our collective 80 plus years of doing this we can honestly say none of the previous telescopes compare to the Celestron NexStar Evolution!   Controling the Celestron Evolution with the SkyPortal App adds a completely different element to the observing experience.  The best part of it is that people that have previousely stayed away from astronomy because of the complexity of telescope operation are now very excited about and purchasing the Celestron NexStar Evolution.  They are getting enjoyment out of the scope because their family is getting enjoyment out of the scope!  The Celestron NexStar Evolution is available in a 6", 8" and 9.25" optical tube configuration.  We look forward to sharing our experience with the Celestron NexStar Evolution with everyone!

Clear Skies,

Your Friends At High Point Scientific