Hey all, checking back in after my initial post here. I spent a lot of time considering the advice that I received and advice given to other people posting similar first posts, and finally bought a Skywatcher evostar 100mm apo on astromart from a really nice guy in my area. I got a good deal on it and a mount, so I'm very happy. The reason I went with this over a Dobsonian, which was the most recommended, is that I kept reading advice to choose the telescope that you see in your mind as what a telescope should be and you'll enjoy it more. When I was a kid I had a refractor so it's just the way I view telescopes and my gut just said that I'll enjoy it more with a scope that I understand. As a bonus, the guy I bought it from was a memeber of the local astronomy group so that was nice to already meet someone that is active in the community.
I've been very excited to get out there for my first time, but my story starts the way a lot of people's do, I immediately got sick and it's been cloudy for 2 weeks. Fast forward to last night, I went outside, set everything up, used the finder to look for Orion, got really excited and looked through the telescope for the first time. I couldn't see anything. Ok, after 30 minutes of fiddling with the focuser, getting worried this thing was broken, getting my phone out to look something up that didn't help, I finally figured out that the focuser was "pulled in" all the way so I just had to turn the knobs the other way for a bit until I started getting movement. Ok, line up my shot again, using the 25 mm EP, and holy **** there was the Orion Nubula. It's literally the only thing I knew how to find right away, and even though I had tempered my expectation that it was not going to look like the pictures, especially in a 7 Bortle sky, it was truly amazing. So I practiced a bit with the micro-adjusters to look around and follow things. I looked for Andromeda, couldn't find it, then looked for Pleidies (SP), couldn't find it. I tried out the 8mm EP that came with it, couldn't see anything. All in all, it was a great first night of learning my telescope, seeing something that got me excited for the next time out, and showed me I have a lot to learn, which just makes a new hobby like this fun.
So my to-do list:
1. Need to look into ways to learn the sky more, get a map, etc.
2. Need to figure out how to use eye pieces effectively and which ones I might need to enhance my viewing\
3. Need to find a place I can go to at least get to a Bortle 5 sky
Anyway, just wanted to share my first story, appreciate all the advice I've recived and that I read. This is a great community.