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Hill, Gary J.; Kelz, Andreas; Lee, Hanshin; MacQueen, Phillip; Peterson, Trent W.; Ramsey, Jason; Vattiat, Brian L.; DePoy, D. L.; Drory, Niv; Gebhardt, Karl; Good, John M.; Jahn, Thomas; Kriel, Herman; Marshall, J. L.; Tuttle, Sarah E.; Zeimann, Greg; Balderrama, Edmundo; Bryant, Randy; Buetow, Brent; Chonis, Taylor; Damm, George; Fabricius, Maximilian H.; Farrow, Daniel; Fowler, Jim; Froning, Cynthia; Haynes, Dionne M.; Indahl, Briana L.; Martin, Jerry; Montesano, Francesco; Mrozinski, Emily; Nicklas, Harald; Noyola, Eva; Odewahn, Stephen; Peterson, Andrew; Prochaska, Travis; Rostopchin, Sergey; Shetrone, Matthew; Smith, Greg; Snigula, Jan M.; Spencer, Renny; Westfall, Amy; Armandroff, Taft; Bender, Ralf; Dalton, Gavin and Steinmetz, Matthias (2018): VIRUS: status and performance of the massively-replicated fiber integral field spectrograph for the upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope. In: Ground-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy Vii, Vol. 10702

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The Visible Integral-field Replicable Unit Spectrograph (VIRUS) consists of 156 identical spectrographs (arrayed as 78 pairs, each with a pair of spectrographs) 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 similar to 750. The fibers are grouped into 78 integral field units, each with 448 fibers and 20 m average length. VIRUS is the first example of large-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 and cost 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 (HETDEXo), using 0.8M Lyman-alpha emitting galaxies as tracers. The VIRUS array has been undergoing staged deployment starting in late 2015. Currently, more than half of the array has been populated and the HETDEX survey started in 2017 December. 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 current state of production, lessons learned in sustaining volume production, characterization, deployment, and commissioning of this massive instrument.

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