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Key astro-gear for starting out?

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I've had my 'scope now for about 4 months, and already I've fielded a few queries from other newly aspiring astronomers about what sort of kit they will need once they've got past the initial excitement of playing with their new toy. Usually people are asking about things like moon filters, Cheshire collimators and occasionally EP upgrades.

However what new astronomers are usually unaware of is the stranger stuff you will need. I keep a cumulative shopping list for astro-related gear, and looking at this recently I realised that nobody tells you what you're really getting yourself in for...

2 embroidery hoops

1 hair dryer

Red nail varnish

3 sheets of A4 black cell foam

1 oil stone

1 square metre of plywood

1 bag of play sand


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Good hat, good shoes/boot, good coat/jacket. No one say that you will need £200-300 of good warm clothing and boots.

Curious about the oil stone, so far never needed one for anything or even come close to needing one.

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The oilstone was purchased as part of my EQ3-2 strip and re-grease, but I didn't need it as all the parts were fine ( no burrs etc. to worry about). But I did end up using it to file down the tightening screws on the embroidery hoops - they couldn't quite reach without a little "sanding"!

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