If I recall correctly, I got a D in astronomy while in college. I took it thinking it'd be a class that wasn't that serious and it's bring my GPA up a bit. This wasn't the case - I got a D.
Recently, however, I've been a bit obsessed with the sky and the stars and planets up there - probably because now that we live in the "country", I can actually see what's up there.
I've been researching telescopes for beginners, astrophotographic telescopes - hell, I even downloaded a free app (GoSkyWatch Planetarium) for my iPad (the first one, without the camera) so that I could slightly understand what I was looking it. With the naked eye, it's a bit challenging though.
I literally can't stop Google-ing things related to astronomy - "best celestial views from CT", "best telescopes for beginners under $100", "best stars views from the northern hemisphere" - to name a few.
Like I said, I'm using my eyes and although I have pretty solid vision, I still want to be able to see the surface of the moon, deep sky objects, constellations, stars, and other planets. I'm not too concerned with alien life form, unless ALF himself is somewhere out there in Melmac. That brown guy ruled!
If there is anyone out there with a telescope they are willing to part with - either for free or a nominal fee - let me know. I'll be damned if I'm going to fork over a few hundred bucks. There are several online I am vigorously researching though.
Thanks and happy stargazing.