Everyone has a favorite...whatever in everything that you do. Favorite food, color, place, we all have them. This hobby is no different. We all have something in our tool boxes that we prize above all else that we have. Be it a scope, an imager, filter or what have you. This is not a discussion about what is you favorite...because let's be honest, that 'favorite' item is usually your most expensive or hardest to obtain item. No, this discussion is to discuss your best dollar for dollar item that you own. As an example let me tell you what mine is...or rather let me show you:
Handmade Bahtinov mask. Note the fine craftmanship in the duct tape. End of last year while tooling around the web I found this website
it allows you to enter your scopes specs and generates a template for your own customized mask. I then simply cut it out with a razor blade and mounted on a piece of cardboard. For the inevestment of less than $1 worth of materials and 1/2 of cutting while watching Spongebob with my kids,I have a tool that allows me to acheive perfect focus in seconds!
I know some of you are like...duh!...but I did not know about it, so it is possible some of you don't either. If like me you still "fudge" focus and are never really sure if your focus is perfect or not, this is a must have item. You can buy one for $10-$30, or make your own which is way more satisfying. And let me tell you, I had no idea just how out of focus I was until I was in focus!
Now I know, some of you techie guys on this site are like..."well my scope autofocuses"...and that is great but as there does not exists an autofocus system on the market that costs less than a dollar out there I am gonna stick with my little ghetto mask. Dollar for dollar, my best piece of astro equip I own.