The list author says: "I field a lot of questions about "getting into" astronomy. My philosophy: begin with binoculars, a good planisphere, a good atlas and a few good books and at least one magazine subscription to keep you interest up; join a local astronomy club before buying a telescope, attend your local club's star parties."
"You should get a good pair of binoculars. 7X50 is OK, but most astronomers like 10X50. If you are buying for a kid, the 7X50 are easier to hold. Avoid high-power (like 20x80) as a first pair. This pair of Orion is a good choice. But even a very inexpensive pair is good for a start."
"I almost forgot to add one essential tool, a red light. Using a red light will save your night vision and permit you to read your sky atlas and books under the stars. Any red light will do, I like Orion's service."
"OK, you can't stand it--you have to investigate telescopes. Buy this book before you buy a telescope. In fact, buy this one now as the advice covers most areas of amateur astronomy. The Thompsons provide great advice and you will be using this book extensively. It is a good read."
"One of the two astronomy mag subscriptions I recommend. If you can only subscribe to one, purchase both at the news stand and make your choice. BTW: the poor ratings seem to apply to the e edition, not the print edition."