Oh yeah...he's a beginner.
Any spotting scope can be used for some limited astronomy, but one that uses standard telescope eyepieces will be a plus for the astronomy. Problem is, very few spotting scopes use this eyepiece format, but there are a few. Another plus for astronomy is an angled body, instead of a straight.
If he is not carrying the scope, a Celestron C5 is a good choice for both day work or astronomy, but that is not a scope you want to throw over your shoulder and hike down the trail.
A better, all-purpose, more portable scope is the new Celestron Regal 80ED
Just be sure to use a good tripod when cranking up past typical spotting scope magnifications, such as the Bogen 055XDB, 128RC It's all for nothing if you put a good scope on a cheap tripod.
This one is a huge difference price wise from the other two that were suggested. I will spend up to $500 total for the scope and tripod.
Thanks for the advice.
My spotter has ED glass and costs a bit more than your budget, but your requirements can be met with a good spotter in your price range. Take a look at the 65mm version of the Celestron Regal. It too can use telescope eyepieces, and has ED glass. There are a few decent 80mm scopes you can get in your price range, but in this price range I would prefer the smaller size, ED glass, and interchangeable eyepeices over something that merely has an 80mm objective and no ED glass.
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