i just gotta say to Rick...mate, your advice is spot on, astronomy clubs and star parties are the best way not to make mistakes.
BUT - one cap does not fit all.
While Adam is fine with it in principle, clubs are not for everybody.
I really dont think its quite the minefield you are making it out to be.
Your insistence that it is the only way to do things may be a tad offputting for some people.
Ive never been to a club or star party in my life. But with the internet its really not so difficult to research a suitable solution for what you would like.
I bought a slightly used 8" LX200 gps, a meade DSI pro and a LP filter as my skies are terrible. First night i used it i was imaging the ring nebula...having no knowledge of the sky whatsoever.
I still have it, i still use it.
Its not THAT difficult!
I added a Williams optics ZS110 to the party just because i fell in love with it and had to have one...but thats another story.
yikes, sorry it such an old thread, i did a search for something else and forgot thats what thread list was...
sorry again everyone