… with one rather notable exception.
Do telescopes with GoTo mounts update as new and interesting things manifest in the universe? Like if Comet Cecil is discovered and is visible, will I be able to input “Comet Cecil” into the machine and have it point towards it?
For fixed objects like a supernova (or even just some already-existing thing that you happen to find more interesting than the guy who wrote the original list did), it’s generally easy to input the RA and dec (celestial coordinates) of a few custom objects yourself.
For something like a comet, though, you need orbital elements, and the machine has to be smart enough to be able to use those elements to predict where the object will be at any given time. And there’s a lot more room for error. You certainly could have a system that could handle that, but it’s not likely to be as common.
Not quite the same thing, but there are some projects for motorizing Dobsonians, too: aGotino - a simple Arduino (Nano) Goto - ATM, Optics and DIY Forum - Cloudy Nights
You shouldn’t have any difficulty finding visible stuff as long as you have a basic finder scope, which is a typical accessory. Especially if you install a phone app like SkyView. It’s like $5 and I haven’t yet found a need for anything fancier.
Like someone else said, there is a case to be made for getting the biggest aperture you can afford and skimping on the rest of the accessories. The bigger views will make it worthwhile. Once you have gotten your feet wet, and your needs become more clear, then you can add other stuff (if you need it! maybe you don’t!).
ISTM light pollution is a very real limiting factor for anyone who doesn’t live pretty darn rural.
IOW, getting a very large aperture scope doesn’t help if that just pulls in more suburban light pollution along with more of whatever faint object you’re trying to resolve. Said another way, your local seeing conditions (darkness, average cloud cover, average haziness / air pollution = visibility) will place an upper limit on how well / much you can see even given infinite resources. And therefore dictate how large/expensive a scope will get you all you can possibly get.
Your willingness to drive an hour or two to get to better seeing (assuming it can be had that close to home) would also be a factor in a decision.
IME this is a problem for viewing deep-space objects. I live in a suburb close to a city, and I have no problem viewing planets as far as Neptune. But I do have a friend with a fairly large reflector who can get good shots of Andromeda even from his suburban front yard, under street lights.
It doesn’t need to be a barrier to entry, is what I mean to say.
Good to know; thanks.
Part of the reason I’m so interested in buying a scope is the fact that Mrs. Homie and I now live in a pretty darn rural area.
Even in a light-polluted area, more aperture will still be be better. It just might not be enough better to be worthwhile.
Of course, the best is to get large aperture and a dark sky. Which might mean going camping a few times a year, if you’re a city dweller.
Back when I lived in Montana, I was a member of the local astronomy club, and once, on a star-party campout, I had custody of the club’s 20-incher all night, in the middle of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, one of the few truly dark spots left on the continent. Man, those were some amazing views!