The Visible Integral-Field Replicable Unit Spectrograph (VIRUS) instrument is being built at Texas A&M University in collaboration with University of Texas--Austin. VIRUS is the instrument that enables observations for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment HETDEX project, an experiment designed to learn more about Dark Energy--a mysterious force in our Universe that astronomers are only now beginning to be able to describe.
The VIRUS instrument consists of up to 192 identical fiber-fed integral field optical spectrographs. VIRUS provides a unique challenge in astronomical instrumentation: each of the 192 instruments must be identical and each component must be interchangeable amongst every other spectrograph in order to ease assembly and maintenance of the instrument. The spectrographs will be assembled production-line-stye, and will be optically aligned and tested at Texas A&M before being shipped to McDonald Observatory to be installed on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.
VIRUS Staff in Summer 2011 with a partially assembled spectrograph
For more information about VIRUS, please see our Publications section.VIRUS documents