I’ve always had an interest in stargazing and amateur astronomy. For my 15th anniversary with my company I was offered a gift. To my wife’s significant disappointment, I chose a Celestron 6 SE over a fully automated cappuccino maker.
I’ve been out with it a few times, mainly on cold clear nights in the Smoky Mountains. Saturn looked really cool, as well as some double stars. But that is about it. I just suck at finding reference points in the scope that I can program into the finder system, and have literally spent 2+ hours each night getting it correlated to the point where the motorized system can auto-align to a catalog of objects (this involves identifying two, and ideally three, known stars, upon which the scope can automatically compute and point to the relative position of other objects). I cheat and use an iPhone App (Starwalk) to identify the stars, but getting a specific star in the field of view of the telescope is close to impossible for me without a lot of trial and error.
Once aligned, it works very well for planets - I can hop from Mars to Jupiter consistently. Large stars as well - once zeroed in it finds other stars in the catalog and navigates almost perfectly on center to each. Everything else has been a fail - no nebula, close galaxies or anything like that. Andromeda looked like a cloudy fuzz, yet I have a very distinct memory (one that has been verified by other people that were there) of seeing it very clearly through binoculars on an exceptionally cold and clear night at a defunct ski resort in Vermont.
What should I expect to be able to see? We’re pretty remote in the Smokies with little light pollution (at least a lot less than Tampa, where I live the other 99% of the time - the cabin in the mountains is the in-laws place). Most nights it’s dark and clear enough that I can (barely) see the Milky Way, and the stars are just gorgeous. I would just like to see more of them with this dang scope.