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9 July 2008 Design, construction, and performance of VIRUS-P: the prototype of a highly replicated integral-field spectrograph for HET
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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.
© (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, 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, and Christopher P. Wilkinson "Design, construction, and performance of VIRUS-P: the prototype of a highly replicated integral-field spectrograph for HET", Proc. SPIE 7014, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II, 701470 (9 July 2008);

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