Choosing a Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope, also known as an SCT telescope, puts you in good company. The Schmidt-Cassegrain is one of the most popular telescopes today, and it's not hard to see why. The SCT has an optical tube that is much more compact and portable than a reflector or refractor of the same aperture, and there is a huge selection of accessories available that are specifically designed for the Schmidt-Cassegrain. Plus, with the addition of the proper diagonal, an SCT can be used for terrestrial viewing as well as astronomy, making the Schmidt-Cassegrain a flexible telescope that can be used for many applications.
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The Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is a member of the catadioptric optical family. Some telescope designs use mirrors to gather and focus the light (reflectors) and others use lenses (refractors), but catadioptric telescopes use a combination of mirrors and lenses to do the job. The SCT telescope has a primary and secondary mirror, but it also uses a very thin lens called a corrector plate to improve the image. The light path of a Schmidt-Cassegrain is folded, which means the light takes a couple of bounces before it reaches your eye. This is why the SCT telescope tube is shorter than other designs of the same aperture, making it easier to carry, store, and attach to your mount of choice.
Finally, because Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes are so popular there are loads of accessories available that will allow you to do visual astronomy as well as multiple kinds of photography with everything from your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera to a DSLR or dedicated astronomy camera. The Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is worth a long look, whether you want to do visual astronomy, terrestrial viewing, or photography of daytime or nighttime objects. It is one versatile telescope that will last you a lifetime. Check out one of our most popular models, the Celestron NexStar 5SE, or take a look at our full selection.