I'm envious. You have a great scope. Some thoughts:
1. The "plate" is called a tripod tray . It bolts onto the "tabs" sticking out of the legs. The tray has several functions. 1. is keep the legs from spreading open and the whole thing falling to the ground. The wire(s) tied to the legs inside the tripod will do that. It adds rigidity to the tripod. A tripod with the shakes will show shakes at the eyepiece. And, it's place to put eyepiece, etc. on.
Trays are not listed for sale on the Tele Vue (TV) website, but TV Vue is a classy outfit and might have trays to sell. Give them a call. I think your mount is an older Gilbralter mount. The new Gilbralter mounts appear to have a different tray. You also want the thumb-screws to bolt it on. They look similar to the bolts that tighten the legs.
Or, you can place a wanted ad here on CN Classified for a used tray. If a genuine TV Tray is not to be found, other trays, like a Vixen brand tray may work. When talking to TV, if you are missing any eyepiece caps, they may have them.
Aside: Tele Vue makes great things, including trays. They tend to be in the higher priced range. Most accessories do not have to be TV if you need to budget.
2. Cleaning the optics, telescope and eyepieces.
Don't! Repeat, do not clean the optics or the eyepieces until you learn how to do it safely without damaging them.
a. Check out out the Beginners forum. A lot of useful info including how to clean optics, and when not to. What clothing to wear. What to drink or eat. How to organize. Things you never thought of.
3. If you do not have them, a case to store the telescope, and another for the eyepieces. The tripod and mount don't need a case, but something for the electronic thing. Yep, Tele Vue makes an eyepiece case. They may have a scope case.
4. The NGC Max by JMI is a computer that gives you the celestial coordinates that the scope is pointing at. As you move the aim of the telescope the numbers change, and you can look up where it it pointing. And you can look up the numbers for an object you want to look at, and move the scope to those numbers. Check the NGC website for instructions, or ask here on the Mount Forum if anyone has a manual and instructions and or Google it.
5. An observing chair. This will add greatly to your comfort. Tele Vue makes one, but there are a lot of alternatives, including home made.
Edited by Littlegreenman, 09 December 2019 - 04:42 AM.