VIRUS is a massively replicated spectrograph built for HETDEX, the Hobby Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment. It consists of 156 channels within 78 units fed by 34944 fibers over the 22 arcminute field of the upgraded HET. VIRUS covers a relatively narrow bandpass (350-550nm) at low resolution (R ~ 700) to target the emission of Lyman-alpha emitters (LAEs) for HETDEX. VIRUS is a first demonstration of industrial style assembly line replication in optical astronomy. Installation and testing of VIRUS units began in November of 2015. This winter we celebrated the first on sky instrument activity of the upgraded HET, using a VIRUS unit and LRS2-R (the upgraded facility Low Resolution Spectrograph for the HET). Here we describe progress in VIRUS installation and commissioning through June 2016. We include early sky data obtained to characterize spectrograph performance and on sky performance of the newly upgraded HET. As part of the instrumentation for first science light at the HET, the IFU fed spectrographs were used to test a full range of telescope system functionality including the field calibration unit (FCU).We also use placement of strategic IFUs to map the new HET field to the fiber placement, and demonstrate actuation of the dithering mechanism key to HETDEX observations.
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Sarah E. Tuttle ; Gary J. Hill ; Brian L. Vattiat ; Hanshin Lee ; Niv Drory, et al.
VIRUS early installation and commissioning
", Proc. SPIE 9908, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI, 99081I (August 4, 2016); doi:10.1117/12.2231253; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2231253