Just signed up but have been reading a lot on telescopes. It gets dizzying.... I had a lower end refractor many years ago but never got into stargazing because of other activities. But we are amateur photographers and a few milky way sessions out west have renewed my interest in exploring the night sky a bit. ( I do recall how excited I was to spot Jupiter's moons those years ago)
I am suburban with quite a few trees so, I expect to have to transport to the countryside for better seeing, which still might be fleeting since we live in Tampa where night skies can be pretty poor much of the time. We have made several futile trips to darker sky areas of Florida and gotten totally skunked anyway.
I'd like to see some moon and planet detail and would enjoy some easy deep space objects, but not interested in hours of searching for the most remote of objects. Just some casual and occasional viewing.
I don't expect this to be a starter scope, but an easy and reliable one that I can just have on hand. I would like ease of use, fairly lightweight and transportable, and the largest image I can get and still be clear and sharp, if conditions are clear. If I could find one that I could take on a plane it would be a bonus, but not anxious to sacrifice aperture too much. (I guess that is a tall order...)
I am thinking a 4 inch refractor will meet my needs or a little bigger if I can find in my price range of under $500), but not sure it will.
I read how much enthusiasm there is for the reflector scopes, especially the "dobs". But honestly this will sound silly, but I am struggling with that upside-down image. If I get a go-to model, it's probably not as big a deal except at setup. But manually searching, I do think it would bug me. Maybe it has to do with being a lefty, but I don't want to spend even more time mentally reversing things. Or moving left but seeing a move to the right.
So, is my wish list reasonable or just plain ridiculous? Any model recommendations or models or makers to avoid?