Best All Rounder
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…
An accurate tracking mount for astrophotography with this SCT would be the Sky-Watcher EQ6-R PRO Go-To
Celestron C9.25 XLT
Optical Tube Assemby
A good GOTO mount for visual observers using this SCT would be the Celestron AVX which has a very accurate goto.
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 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.
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.
What extra stuff do I need to take pictures of the moon and planets with my SCT?
Best Barlow: Baader VIP Modular 2x
Best budget planetary Camera ZWO ASI120MC
My Planetary camera is the ZWO ASI178 its nearly as sensitive as the 290 but it has a larger sensor and therefore better at bagging big targets like the moon and sun.
(Mrs Biscuit finds out how much this set up costs Eeeek!)
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. But I have successfully shot with and without a reducer using the gear listed below (although my camera was older and I used baader filters)
Here is a list of additional equipment needed to take the shot of the whirlpool galaxy above.
Celestron 0.63x reducer/corrector
(optional but a good idea)
If your getting serious choose a mono camera which is can be used also be used for inner city narrow band imaging...
Mono camera Asi1600GT with internal filter wheel