Despite the numerous bodies of evidence for well designed external lighting including human health, damage to nocturnal life and wasted energy in an era of environmental concern, light pollution is sadly a reality for all but the lucky few amateur astronomers. This means that ever more distant travel is required to find the dark skies we desire, and this can even mean international travel. With that, comes some pretty severe restrictions on size and weight allowances which limits the choice of telescope that can be taken abroad. A small high-quality refractor, with the superb contrast these instruments are known for can be an excellent choice for the travelling astronomer. However, if you are like me, you do not want to leave the fragile optical components are the mercy of airport baggage handlers. This means the scope needs to ride in the cabin with me and imposes maximum dimensions as defined by the allowed cabin bag size. This can limit the choice of scope.
Takahashi offer one small scope in particular which overcomes this problem, the FC-76 DCU. The scope is a 3” f/7.5 fluorite doublet, which splits in two for easy transport with no component longer than 34cm. The entire assembly weighs less than 2kg. I purchased my scope from the Widescreen Centre in 2014 when I purchased the baby FS-60 and the 76mm objective unit upgrade which converts the FS-60 into the FC-76. Fortunately, Takahashi recognised the appeal of this very portable scope and began offering it as a standalone product in Japan in 2016 and internationally the following year as the FC-76DCU. This scope has travelled with many times including to Vamizi Island off the coast of Mozambique. I reviewed the telescope for Astronomy Now magazine and the review appeared in the June 2018 issue. If you wish to read the review, you can purchase the back issue here.