A few years ago I, along with my son John who had a good SLR Camera, acquired a telescope. The object was to further his and my interest in Astronomy.
We had some hard earned early successes and some failures. Later, when we had learnt much and added to our equipment, some of the images taken with our 6″ reflector telescope compared favourably with some internet images that had been taken using larger and more expensive equipment.
We, like the many other amateur astronomers went through a learning process. On our nights out I did the navigating and, because I am retired, I had the daytime during which to research the internet so as to improve our knowledge base and thereby improving our routines, making best use of the equipment we had and acquiring equipment that would help.
Some of the sub items here are just copies of the comprehensive notes I made. At A level physics I had learnt to draw light paths that showed how various lens arrangements brought things into focus. I could reproduce those diagrams but never understood them. Dealing with telescope optics brought with it much understanding of the behaviour of light.