I need help with researching the answer to a likely age-old question: "What Is the Best Telescope for a Backyard Budget?"
Since I'm sure veterans have tired answering this question, I will be more than happy with a link to a comparison or discussion thread on the topic.
I am a new resident of Big Bear, California. And it freaks me out that when I take my dogs out at night when the moon isn't present yet and the sky is clear--very common in Southern California--I can see the Milky Way. Since I spent most of my life "down the hill" near sea level in Southern California, seeing the Milky Way was essentially impossible with all the smog and city light. The last time I saw the Milky Way was in Boy Scouts when I was 12.
Anyway, I have developed a deep interest in looking deeper into the Milky Way and discovering something cool and rare, maybe a rare star that is hard to find because of x, y, z.
So, anyone who can empathize with me: which telescope and mount is the best bang for the buck? I want to do real observations using LiveSky Premium with a scope and mount on my mountain deck but I probably have about $400 to $500 bucks to spend right now.
Thank you for your help!