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Proceedings Paper

Design, construction, and performance of VIRUS-P: the prototype of a highly replicated integral-field spectrograph for HET
Author(s): Gary J. Hill; Phillip J. MacQueen; Michael P. Smith; Joseph R. Tufts; Martin M. Roth; Andreas Kelz; Joshua J. Adams; Niv Drory; Frank Grupp; Stuart I. Barnes; Guillermo A. Blanc; Jeremy D. Murphy; Werner Altmann; Gordon L. Wesley; Pedro R. Segura; John M. Good; John A. Booth; Svend-Marian Bauer; Emil Popow; John A. Goertz; Robert D. Edmonston; Christopher P. Wilkinson
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Paper Abstract

We describe the design, construction, and performance of VIRUS-P (Visible Integral-field Replicable Unit Spectrograph - Prototype), the prototype for 150+ identical fiber-fed integral field spectrographs for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). VIRUS-P was commissioned in 2007, is in regular service on the McDonald Observatory 2.7 m Smith telescope, and offers the largest field of any integral field spectrograph. The 246-fiber IFU uses a densepak-type fiber bundle with a 1/3 fill factor. It is fed at f/3.65 through a telecentric, two-group dioptric focal reducer. The spectrograph's double-Schmidt optical design uses a volume phase holographic grating at the pupil between the articulating f/3.32 folded collimator and the f/1.33 cryogenic prime focus camera. High on-sky throughput is achieved with this catadioptric system by the use of high reflectivity dielectric coatings, which set the 340-670 nm bandwidth. VIRUS-P is gimbal-mounted on the telescope to allow short fibers for high UV throughput, while maintaining high mechanical stability. The instrument software and the 18 square arcmin field, fixed-offset guider provide rapid acquisition, guiding, and precision dithering to fill in the IFU field. Custom software yields Poisson noise limited, sky subtracted spectra. The design characteristics are described that achieved uniformly high image quality with low scattered light and fiber-to-fiber cross talk. System throughput exceeds requirements and peaks at 40%. The observing procedures are described, and example observations are given.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 July 2008
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 7014, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II, 701470 (9 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.790235
Show Author Affiliations
Gary J. Hill, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Phillip J. MacQueen, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Michael P. Smith, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Joseph R. Tufts, Las Cumbres Observatory (United States)
Martin M. Roth, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
Andreas Kelz, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
Joshua J. Adams, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Niv Drory, Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestriche-Physik (Germany)
Frank Grupp, Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestriche-Physik (Germany)
Stuart I. Barnes, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Guillermo A. Blanc, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Jeremy D. Murphy, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Werner Altmann, Konstructionsburo Werner Altmann (Germany)
Gordon L. Wesley, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Pedro R. Segura, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
John M. Good, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
John A. Booth, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Svend-Marian Bauer, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
Emil Popow, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
John A. Goertz, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Robert D. Edmonston, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Christopher P. Wilkinson, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7014:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II
Ian S. McLean; Mark M. Casali, Editor(s)

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