Yep, Dobsonian is probably the way to go initially, if you want to get the most aperture for your coin. It's good for deep sky objects (nebular, galaxies, etc), and you can use them for planetary and lunar viewing as well. They're guided by hand, but that's not a big deal really. You'll quickly get oriented and be able to find things pretty easily with the included view finders. I'd just use some computer software like Starry Night, or some such, to make yourself star charts for your viewing times. Dobs aren't too great for imaging (photography), as they aren't guided generally, so if you ever want to get into that, you'll be looking for a new scope...but by then, you'll know what you want.
Full disclosure.. I don't own any scopes of my own.. I've been fortunate enough to have friends and family with lots-o-scopes, so I just mooch off their stuff. I am getting the itch for some viewing though..haven't done much in quite a while. I might try to get out to see my brother in Oregon this summer and go to the Oregon Star Party. Seriously dark skies there.
Edit: Oh, one other thing...you might consider checking out a local astronomy club. You can hook up with some folks that do this stuff all the time, and are usually very helpful and welcoming to beginners. You can maybe even go on an outing with them, and a check out a bunch of equipment hands on, before you go buy something.
Last edited by jamesspo; 04-18-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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