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9 July 2008 Present and future instrumentation for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope
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The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) is an innovative large telescope of 9.2 meter aperture, located in West Texas at McDonald Observatory. The HET operates with a fixed segmented primary and has a tracker which moves the four-mirror corrector and prime focus instrument package to track the sidereal and non-sidereal motions of objects. The HET has been taking science data for nearly a decade. Recent work has improved performance significantly, replacing the mirror coatings and installing metrology equipment to provide feedback that aids tracking and alignment of the primary mirror segments. The first phase of HET instrumentation included three facility instruments: the Low Resolution Spectrograph (LRS), the Medium Resolution Spectrograph (MRS), and High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS). The current status of these instruments is briefly described. A major upgrade of HET is in progress that will increase the field of view to 22 arcminutes diameter, replacing the corrector, tracker and prime focus instrument package. This wide field upgrade will feed a revolutionary new integral field spectrograph called VIRUS, in support of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). VIRUS is a facility instrument that consists of 150 or more copies of a simple unit integral field spectrograph. In total VIRUS will observe 34,000 spatial elements simultaneously, and will open up wide-area surveys of the emission-line universe for the first time. We describe the HET wide field upgrade and the development of VIRUS, including results from testing the prototype of the VIRUS unit spectrograph.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gary J. Hill, Phillip J. MacQueen, Povilas Palunas, Stuart I. Barnes, and Matthew D. Shetrone "Present and future instrumentation for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope", Proc. SPIE 7014, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II, 701406 (9 July 2008);

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