>>> I'm pretty new to this star gazing hobby, but so far I've been having a blast. To date, I've only seen: the moon, mars, saturn, jupiter, the orion nebula (if that's the one in his scabard), and the pleiades. Plus a few random stars, but I don't know what they were.
So, here's my question. I'd like to find some galaxies. Can anyone recommend some good starter galaxies to look at? North and west horizons are tough for me to see due to hills and trees, but I have great views above, south and east. Oh yes, I'm in the northeast, too.
Great question !! As the early Spring has a reputation for being Galaxy season. But a lot depends on your observing location and to a lesser extent your telescope. There are some big galaxies out there that do not require much magnification, but are very dim. There are some very small but bright ones that will need high magnification, and everything in-between. The best luck with Galaxies will be at a dark sky site since these faint fuzzies usually have a kind of filmy appearance. Thin clouds in the sky or a moon (or both.. ugh ) will make it very hard to track these down. If you can see the Orion Nebula very brightly from your location, it may be good enough.
A good starter Galaxy is always the Andromeda, but as mentioned earlier is starting to set when the sky gets dark. If your North view is not too bad, M51 off the handle of the big dipper is an easy one to find, and on a very dark night, may give you a glimpse of a spiral shape. There are also some nice galaxies around Leo now. Here is M65,66 near Jupiter below Leo. The circle is about 1 degree.
What Star Chart are you using ?
I would say around 5-6" of aperture would make these straight forward to find.
8-10" would really make these interesting