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.