That certainly was a pleasant surprise and I could see myself getting an actual telescope now. Little did I know then that a telescope is a different beast entirely.
When I was 99% positive that Deep Sky Photography is for me I got me a telescope. There are basically 2 flavours: Refractor and reflector telescopes, the former being the kind of telescope you’d imagine – a tube with lenses where light enters through the front lens element and exits on the opposite end, the latter using mirrors instead of lenses. And then there are different types of reflector telescopes on top of that. I got a Newton reflector telescope that has a large curved primary mirror in the back which reflects the incoming light to a flat secondary mirror at a 45° angle and into the eye piece from there.
After putting the telescope together and shooting a couple of mostly blurry pictures I figured I needed to calibrate the mirrors. This is called collimation and it took me around 3-4 days to get the hang of it because, you know, there’s an infinite number of ways you can arrange the mirrors so that you get a sharp image for mere observation purposes, but you can’t fool a DSLR: The focal plane has to be parallel to the camera’s sensor and there’s only one setting to achieve that.