What are some good choices in telescopes for a beginning astronomer?

I’m not interested in a toy telescope, but I’d like to keep the price below $500. I’m so confused by the options! I want to actually be able to see stuff, but I’m not getting another degree in optics in order to work the telescope. Any suggestions?

I have to be quick. In short, a Reflector on a Dobsonian mount. 8-inch aperture which allows you to see faint fuzzy things, as well as planets and multiple stars. Simple to operate. Get a star atlas to go with it. I’m sure others will expand on this.


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