The Visible Integral-field Replicable Unit Spectrograph (VIRUS) consists of 156 identical spectrographs (arrayed as 78 pairs) fed by 35,000 fibers, each 1.5 arcsec diameter, at the focus of the upgraded 10 m Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET). 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 surveying large areas of sky, spectrally. The VIRUS concept 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-alpha emitting galaxies as tracers. The VIRUS array is undergoing staged deployment during 2016 and 2017. It will provide a powerful new facility instrument for the HET, well suited to the survey niche of the telescope, and will open up large spectroscopic surveys of the emission line universe for the first time. We will review the production, lessons learned in reaching volume production, characterization, and first deployment of this massive instrument.
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Gary J. Hill ; Sarah E. Tuttle ; Brian L. Vattiat ; Hanshin Lee ; Niv Drory, et al.
VIRUS: first deployment of the massively replicated fiber integral field spectrograph for the upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope
", Proc. SPIE 9908, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI, 99081H (August 9, 2016); doi:10.1117/12.2231064; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2231064