Richard Pogge (2015) Originally from the Indian Wells Valley in California's Northern Mojave Desert, I attended Sherman E. Burroughs High School (Class of 1979) in Ridgecrest, California, otherwise known as the "Gateway to Death Valley", and home of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station (it was just NOTS, then NWC, when I was there). While at China Lake I was a member of the China Lake Astronomical Society, the folks who helped give me a start in Astronomy, and Boy Scout Troop 35, to whom I owe my abiding love of the outdoors. In 1979 I left the desert to attend Caltech, where I received my BS in Physics in 1983. At Caltech I was a member of Dabney House, and a sometime member of the infamous InfraRed Army. I then got out of Pasadena and headed north along the coast to the Lick Observatory at UC Santa Cruz, where I received my PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics in 1988. After a brief stint as a W.J. McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, I came to Ohio State as a postdoc in 1989, and then joined the faculty of the Astronomy Department in 1992 as an Assistant Professor. I have been a Full Professor of Astronomy since 2003.

My primary research is concerned with the astrophysics of active galactic nuclei and gaseous nebulae as revealed through imaging and spectrophotometry at optical, UV, and infrared wavelengths with ground-based and space-based telescopes. My recent work has been in two main areas. The first seeks to refine measurments of the masses of supermassive black holes in nearby active galaxies with the goal of calibrating the key scaling relations that will allow us to extend local methods out to cosmological distances. The second uses the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes to study how local active nuclei are fed by gas from their host galaxies, and how that activity in turn feeds back upon their hosts. Closer to home, I am part of the MicroFUN collaboration based at Ohio State that has organized a worldwide network of amateur and professional telescopes to make coordinated observations to search for extrasolar planetary systems using gravitational microlensing.

To support this research I am actively involved in the design and construction of advanced astronomical instruments, including development of software for image processing, spectral analysis, and instrument control & data acquisition. Instruments I have helped develop are in regular use at the MDM Observatory in Arizona and on the SMARTS telescopes in Chile. My latest instrument project is the two Multi-Object Double Spectrographs (MODS) we have built for the Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham in Arizona.


Curriculum Vitae (32k PDF)
Bibliography (122k PDF)


Astronomy 2291: Basic Astrophysics & Planetary Astronomy - Autumn Semester 2013
Astronomy 141: Life in the Universe - Winter Quarter 2012 (iTunes U version)
Previous Courses
Introductory Teaching Resources
Astronomy Course Podcasts: [Ast 161|Ast 162|Ast 141]
All Courses & Public Lectures

Ohio State Graduate Astrophysics Series

Editor in Chief: Barbara Ryden
Technical Editor: Richard Pogge
The Ohio State Graduate Astrophysics Series (OSGAS) is a projected series of e-books based on lecture notes for the six core graduate astrophysics courses and the first-year "Observed Properties" course taught at OSU. These e-books are not exhaustive monographs, but instead adopt the back-of-envelope philosophy of our "Order of Magnitude Astrophysics" course to emphasize the most important physical principles in each subfield of astrophysics. The goal is to make our series a point of entry into the deeper and more detailed classical textbooks in our field. Although each volume in OSGAS will stand on its own, care is taken to unify notation and vocabulary as much as possible across volumes, and emphasis will be placed on physical concepts that unite the different subfields.

Now available:

Volume 1: Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium
Barbara Ryden & Richard Pogge, January 2015
[available in iBooks format for iPad/Mac; a Google Books/Google Play version is in preparation]

Volume 2: Dynamics
Barbara Ryden, February 2016
[available from Google Books & GooglePlay; a Kindle version is being contemplated.]

Upcoming volumes:

Stellar Structure and Evolution, Marc Pinsonneault & Barbara Ryden, Summer 2016
Atomic and Radiative Processes, 2017
Cosmology and Structure Formation, 2017
The OSGAS project has been generously supported by a grant from the OSU Office of Distance Education and eLearning as part of their Book Launch initiative, and by the OSU Department of Astronomy.
Richard W. Pogge (

Updated: 2016 February 18