Best All Round Telescope

             C9.25 SCT

The best all round telescope would zoom into the planets with ferocious detail and be fat enough to reveal the huge faint whispy deep space nebula and galaxies whilst being small enough to put on a tracking mount for astrophotography. I think the SCT comes closest and I think the 9 ¼ inch Celestron SCT hits a sweet spot…

Celestron C9.25 XLT

Optical Tube Assemby

An accurate tracking mount for astrophotography with this SCT would be the Sky-Watcher EQ6-R PRO Go-To

The SCT is fat and short. It’s fatness gives it fantastic resolving power which is why it’s the scope of choice for the world’s best planetary photographers. It’s fatness also makes it a good light bucket and although optically the combination of corrector plate and mirrors and a larger obstruction make the view not quite as good as a similarly fat but cheaper Newtonian… like my 40 year old, 10” F6 newtonian big bertha (see pic) – I think you can see that the SCT’s shortness makes the SCT much easier to handle and hide from Mrs Biscuit and much, much easier for astrophotography.

Unfortunately every little breeze sends big bertha into a spin making her useless for long exposdure deep space astrophotography

You could argue that a fancy glass refractor makes space look more contrasty and you’d be right. Which is why some people prefer to spend their money on better optics at the expense of a larger aperture. These scopes won’t show you as much but what you see will look crisper. If this floats your boat I would argue a simple 4 or 5 inch doublet with fancy glass is hard to beat.

What extra stuff do I need to take pictures of the moon and planets with my SCT?

Photographing the moon and planets is fairly simple. To start with just a camera and a barlow lens for extra magnification. Some dslr’s like my canon 600D are excellent planetary cameras. You can get an overview of planetary photography here. Note the quality of the mount is not critical for this kind of photography.

Best Camera for planets

ZWO ASI462MC: This camera really is a step up from what went before AND is great at shooting IR which improves your shots when the seeing is poor. I want one.

My favorite Barlow Lens

Baader VIP Modular 2x: Getting a great barlow is important for planetary imaging. That being said most of the cheap ones aren’t that bad. This baader one though is excellent and easy to adjust to your particular set up…by increasing  the distance between this barlow and your sensor you can increase the magnification.

My good value Planetary Camera

My Planetary camera is the ZWO ASI178m its not assensitive as the 462 but it has a larger sensor and therefore better at bagging big targets like the moon and sun… (its mono which makes it more of a pain to use but also more versatile).

On a tight budget?

Best budget planetary Camera ZWO ASI120MC



Best budget barlow 2x
Celestron Omni


What extra stuff do I need to take pictures of deep space through my SCT?

Hmmm. Taking shots of deep space through an SCT is tough because the SCT’s high magnification means your tracking has to be excellent. You could try reducing your magnification by using a hyperstar lens  like Deddy Dayag in Israel but I’ve never tried it. I have successfully shot with and without a reducer using the gear listed below (although my camera was an older mono ccd camera and I used baader filters; your much better off getting a modern CMOS sensor camera)

Celestron 0.63x reducer/corrector

(optional but a good idea)



Colour Camera ASI294MC PRO

Celestron off axis guider




If you’re getting serious choose a mono camera which can also be used also be used for inner city narrow band imaging. The ZWO ASI2600mm pro is one of the absolute best for long exposure astrophotography and pretty good for lucky imaging too. Don’t forget you will also need filters and a filter wheel. I would choose ZWO’s 36mm EFW combined with astronomik filters or if you have loads of cash astrodon or Chroma filters.

Mono camera ZWO ASI2600mm