reply to post by ConfusedPeasant
To be honest,you won't be able to get much for $400-some eye pieces cost more than that.
If I was you I would keep saving a while longer,but keep looking for different scopes and learn about the different sorts.
As some one mentioned the Dobsonian type scopes give you the biggest aperture size per buck,but you will need to learn the sky and how to view
different parts of it,which can be a steep learning curve(although very rewarding).
The advice about getting a good solid tripod is very good advice-My scope cost about £800,and although the optics are great for the small aperture
size,the tripod could be one heck of a lot better-I have a asphalt yard,and even with the tripod locked up good and tight,the view wobbles if my dog
is walking about nearby,or if there is any more than a very slight breeze.
That can make things difficult and frustrating,to the point that I am considering upgrading my tripod.
Trouble is a decent one would easily cost more than my scope.
The other things to consider are your local weather-That is my main frustration in Wales-too much cloud and rain most of the time prevents me from
even setting up the scope.
The whole thing can be very challenging-But it is also massively rewarding when everything works well.
I am only a beginner myself,and my best results are still my shots and films of the moon-although I have had some success with mars and jupiter-but
that was before I had a camera connected.
One day I will make a film of them,if the weather ever gives me a chance.
Take a look at the link in my signature If you want to see my setup,and some pics and a video of the moon I took.
Good luck Buddy,and learn as much about different types of kit before you commit to buy.