Celestron StarSense Explorer 8-inch Dobsonian telescope review

Slick new tech on this great value large telescope sees the return of the Dobsonian design, but astrophotographers will struggle

5 Star Rating
Celestron StarSense Explorer 8-inch Dobsonian telescope review
(Image: © Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

An excellent and innovative large telescope that offers super clear views of faint objects, though it's as bulky as it is unsuitable for anything other than the most basic astrophotography.


  • +

    StarSense is very easy to use

  • +

    Optics are sharp

  • +

    ‘Push To’ design helps you learn the night sky

  • +

    Excellent value


  • -

    Big and bulky

  • -

    Red dot finder is badly positioned

  • -

    Stars have diffraction spikes

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If you’ve never thought of getting a Dobsonian telescope it’s probably because they largely fell out of favor a few years ago. Superseded by smaller computerized and motorized ‘Go To’ telescopes that allow beginners to choose targets from a handheld controller, the big and unwieldy – and manual – Dobsonian design just couldn’t keep up. That ends here with the arrival of a Donsonian telescope that’s as easy to align and to move as any telescope we’ve tried.

Add some high-grade optics and a sturdy build quality and the Celestron StarSense Explorer 8-inch Dobsonian impresses on almost all counts – though it’s mostly down to Celestron’s incredible StarSense app.

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Jamie Carter
Astrophotography expert

Jamie has been writing about all aspects of technology for over 14 years, producing content for sites like TechRadar, T3, Forbes, Mashable, MSN, South China Morning Post, and BBC Wildlife, BBC Focus and BBC Sky At Night magazines. 

As the editor for www.WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com, he has a wealth of enthusiasm and expertise for all things astrophotography, from capturing the Perseid Meteor Shower, lunar eclipses and ring of fire eclipses, photographing the moon and blood moon and more.

He also brings a great deal of knowledge on action cameras, 360 cameras, AI cameras, camera backpacks, telescopes, gimbals, tripods and all manner of photography equipment.