She shocked me by saying thats what she wants for Christmas!
I tried reading the beginner sections but its confusing,to me anyway.
I also read alot of these questions on this forum but figured I should post in order to choose right.
I want to spend $600 or so.
No need in computer technology,seems confusing.
No need in being able to take pictures.
She is interested in planets.
Needs to be easy to use.
Try a refractor for planets and if you don't want a computer, go with an equatorial mount. Good choice would be the Celestron Omni XLT 102.
I had read some reviews on this model and read some impressive things.
Seems like some believe the scope should be longer and something else smaller for picking up things easier.
Is there any optional items you deem a necessary purchase for the user?
By the way,my wife is 39 years old and may need glasses in the near future.
It's as good as you will do for the price, but I would also add other eyepieces. Try an eyepiece kit, such as the Celestron