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Posted by Daniel Johnson on April 8, 2003 04:08:45 UTC

Mr. Filipowski has given good advice. A few more options:
You'll want a dew shield at some point--soon. Some people prefer the aluminum type. I instead prefer the collapsible, roll-up type because it takes up so little space in my car and doesn't get dented. Dew is the one thing most likely to end a night of observing when the sky seems otherwise perfect.
If you do most of your observing from home and have a garage where you can leave your scope permanently set up, the giant-sized JMI Wheely Bars are the number-one gotta-love-it convenience item for 12 or 14-inch scopes. The regular Wheely Bars fit my 10-inch just fine. You can roll your scope onto your driveway and be observing in five minutes.
For sheer joy in planetary observing the TeleVue Radian 10mm eyepiece is hard to beat with a 12-inch or larger f/10 scope, but your $99 Plossl set costs less than half the price of one Radian. You'll get the best bang-for-the-buck that anyone has ever offered with your eyepieces for that $99, and as the years go by you'll be able to upgrade when you can afford it. Eventually you'll upgrade, but if you had to live with the Plossls forever it would be no crime.
Do not, for any reason, get a cheap Barlow. Any Barlow that TeleVue makes is worth owning. The least-expensive Barlow that I know of that is worth owning is the Celestron Ultima. It's quite nice. I spent three decades thinking that Barlows were trash because I'd bought cheap ones. Now I own the Celestron Ultima and the cheapest TeleVue Barlow and like them both.

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