Last summer I got interested in Astronomy because I bought a pair of binoculars. I bought the binoculars because I was going with my family to Costa Rica and Yellowstone and wanted to see wildlife, but quickly discovered that they worked great for looking at the stars. This was especially true in Yellowstone, where it was very dark. It made me want to look closer. So in the fall I went on another trip, this time to Observatory Campground near Palomar, where an amateur astronomy club hosts star parties. Some of the guys there had enormous dobsonian telescopes and I was so impressed by what I saw - clusters, nebula, galaxies. So went home and ordered myself a starter telescope: an Orion SkyQuest 6" Dob.
It was great. The planets were good. I could see M42. I managed to find M41. I found that the red dot finder was pretty useless in the bad light pollution of LA but this was remedied when I got a 6x30 finderscope for Christmas. Since my telescope only came with a 25mm eyepiece I went to a local telescope store and bought a set. It had
3 plossl eyepieces: 20mm, 12mm, 6mm and a barlow. It did not have a brandname. I assume it was made in the same factory in China as all the other plossl eyepieces but it was literally a no-name set. It was cheap. And it worked.
In January when my wife's family had a reunion at a farmhouse outside the city I brought my telescope and stayed up LATE. I showed off the showpiece objects to my in-laws: Andromeda, Bodes, M42. It was also dark enough to actually see some of the fainter constellations, like Cancer. I found a whole bunch of Messier objects and really started learning to starhop.
So I was feeling pretty good about how it was going I decided to make a goal. I decided to find 100 Messier objects. I figured I'd get out of town a couple times this spring, out to the desert where it's dark, and do this. NOPE! The corona virus pandemic meant I wasn't going anywhere. I was stuck in my light polluted backyard. So I changed my goal. Having read a few posts here on CN about double stars I started checking these out. I made a new goal: 100 pairs of double stars. That was a couple months ago. Last weekend after star hopping my way through 2 dozen constellations I hit number 100. I didn't really plan it this way, but #100 was the double double, which makes me smile because the double double was the first double I found (with my binoculars) way back at that star party last fall.
My philosophy about learning a new hobby (and goodness knows I have had way too many hobbies over the years) is to start cheap while you learn what to do.
Not going anywhere but my light-polluted backyard.
Put in the time.
Keep star hopping even when it's frustrating (and it is frustrating sometimes).
Learn the night sky.
Get a feel for different seeing conditions.
and so on and so forth all the way to the goal.
I had a great time during this pandemic lockdown because I could get "out of the neighborhood" every time the sky was clear.
There are beautiful worlds to see even in the skies above LA.