It sure is purdy, and love the design.
Can anyone comment on how this would compare to, say, a good ol Celestron NexStar 8SE?
I don’t know that model, but I bought a Celestron Nextstar in bad repair and missing an adapter, battery pack, and eyepiece while yarrrrrrd sailing for $40. I repaired and replaced all that, and it’s still not perfect, but it’s a nice scope.
The Bright-Eye is designed to be held in one’s lap for manual tracking of celestial objects. I don’t know about your model of Celestron, but mine will take an instruction of what to track (for nerds: via keypad with orange backlit LCD with RJ-11 interface), and follow it through the night sky.
My sense is that when each are working ideally, the Bright-Eye will take some intermediate-and-above skill to point reliably and enjoy for any period of time, and the Celestron will require RTFM and batteries right up front. I know which one I choose, but when things start breaking my choice might change.
Score on the Nexstar. I bought a neat gizmo for mine called Orion Telescope Control that connects to the serial interface and let’s me control the scope via iPhone or iPad or whatever when used with SkySafari+. Pretty slick, point your phone at the celestial object and click go and the scope locks on. Works well but the extra setup time makes it so I don’t use it as much as I should. I eagerly await the next generation of telescopes that seamlessly interface with our pocket gizmos.
That said, a full manual scope like this sounds like fun too, especially since 90% of what I look at works passably without tracking: the moon and Jupiter.
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