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Proceedings Paper

VIRUS: a massively replicated 33k fiber integral field spectrograph for the upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope
Author(s): Gary J. Hill; Hanshin Lee; Brian L. Vattiat; Joshua J. Adams; J. L. Marshall; Niv Drory; D. L. DePoy; Guillermo Blanc; Ralf Bender; John A. Booth; Taylor Chonis; Mark E. Cornell; Karl Gebhardt; John Good; Frank Grupp; Roger Haynes; Andreas Kelz; Phillip J. MacQueen; Nick Mollison; J. D. Murphy; M. D. Rafal; W. N. Rambold; M. M. Roth; R. Savage; M. P. Smith
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Paper Abstract

The Visible Integral-field Replicable Unit Spectrograph (VIRUS) consists of a baseline build of 150 identical spectrographs (arrayed as 75 units, each with a pair of spectrographs) fed by 33,600 fibers, each 1.5 arcsec diameter, deployed over the 22 arcminute field of the upgraded 10 m Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET). The goal is to deploy 96 units. VIRUS has a fixed bandpass of 350-550 nm and resolving power R~700. VIRUS is the first example of industrial-scale replication applied to optical astronomy and is capable of spectral surveys of large areas of sky. The method of industrial replication, in which a relatively simple, inexpensive, unit spectrograph is copied in large numbers, offers significant savings of engineering effort, cost, and schedule when compared to traditional instruments. The main motivator for VIRUS is to map the evolution of dark energy for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX+) using 0.8M Lyman-α emitting galaxies as tracers. The full VIRUS array is due to be deployed in late 2011 and will provide a powerful new facility instrument for the HET, well suited to the survey niche of the telescope. VIRUS and HET will open up wide field surveys of the emission-line universe for the first time. We present the design, cost, and current status of VIRUS as it enters production, and review performance results from the VIRUS prototype. We also present lessons learned from our experience designing for volume production and look forward to the application of the VIRUS concept on future extremely large telescopes (ELTs).

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 July 2010
PDF: 21 pages
Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 77350L (14 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857808
Show Author Affiliations
Gary J. Hill, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Hanshin Lee, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Brian L. Vattiat, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Joshua J. Adams, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
J. L. Marshall, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Niv Drory, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (Germany)
D. L. DePoy, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Guillermo Blanc, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Ralf Bender, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (Germany)
Univ.-Sternwarte München (Germany)
John A. Booth, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Taylor Chonis, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Mark E. Cornell, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Karl Gebhardt, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
John Good, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Frank Grupp, Univ.-Sternwarte München (Germany)
Roger Haynes, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
innoFSPEC Potsdam (Germany)
Andreas Kelz, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
Phillip J. MacQueen, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Nick Mollison, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
J. D. Murphy, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
M. D. Rafal, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
W. N. Rambold, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
innoFSPEC Potsdam (Germany)
M. M. Roth, Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (Germany)
innoFSPEC Potsdam (Germany)
R. Savage, McDonald Observatory, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
M. P. Smith, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7735:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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