Fast forward a few years…
My second scope, purchased in 2012, was an 8” Celestron CPC Edge HD. This was a beautiful telescope. It was much easier to align than the ETX-90 was, and its longer focal length was fantastic for planets and the moon.
I actually had this ‘scope for a few years. It was used primarily for visual work, at which it did excel. I was able to hook a camera up to it at prime focus, but nothing really came from that. This moon shot is probably the best that I had:
I spent many months enjoying the CPC. If it was clear, it was set up. I had an issue with it at one point, basically the logic board died. That required shipping and about 2 months of time for Celestron to swap it out. I was so happy to learn that it was a two year warranty, as opposed to just a one year. Once I got it back it never held the same “joy” that it had originally. Eventually I ended up getting frustrated, realizing that I bought this scope before doing sufficient research. I spent quite a bit of money (the CPC, some extra eyepieces, and cough an unused hyperstar) and realized that I really couldn’t image from my yard. I basically only have a view to the north- which is exactly where
downtown uptown Charlotte is relative to me. I sold the scope in 2014, thinking that my hobby was dead in the water.
Then, in 2017 I learned about the Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club, and learned that its members have access to the Gayle H. Riggsbee Observatory near Taxahaw, SC. Not exactly a dark-sky site, but you can actually see hints of the Milky Way with the naked eye. Plus, it is only about 45 minutes away from home!
THAT is when I started plotting…