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Nicole Vogt

Nicole Vogt
Associate Professor (Affiliate, not in residence)
Affiliate Faculty

Contact Info
nicole at
AY 100

Expertise: Galaxy Formation and Evolution




Dr. Vogt’s research efforts focus on understanding the evolution of galaxies over the history of the Universe. They extend from the present to redshift z = 1.5, where the latest instrumentation enables a rich, detailed set of observations for a significant fraction of the total galaxy population. The program can be described with three interwoven themes:

  • Understanding the evolution and star formation history of spiral galaxies to z = 1. Detailed observations of mass, luminosity, morphology and structure reveal the growth of old and young stellar populations in spiral bulges and disks. Large optical telescopes make it possible to observe a significant fraction of galaxy populations; instruments such as HST and the Keck 10-m telescopes produce detailed images of large fields, and increased radio sensitivity allows us to study gas distributions through the same epoch.
  • Studying disk formation between z = 1 and 2. Disk morphology appears to become less common and less regular beyond a redshift of 1, but optical passbands are dominated by UV flux, key star formation indicators are difficult to observe, and even redshifts are sparse. Are local spiral analogs vanishing, to be replaced by turbulent disks in the throes of successive infall, just as observations become increasingly biased towards irregular, blue galaxies with extreme star formation? Large IR-optimized telescopes and instruments are of critical importance for exploration in this regime.
  • Integrating observational surveys and theoretical model ensembles. One needs to incorporate observational selection biases at every stage of analyses, rather than simply correcting a final result. One technique is to model an underlying galaxy population, apply actual survey selection criteria, and compare the results with those found in observed surveys.

Dr. Vogt has conducted a long-term observational study of spiral galaxies in the distant Universe with the Keck, VLT, and Gemini 10-m class telescopes and with HST (including a Cycle 13 STIS program to study bulge formation). These data provide a unique, mass-driven view of high redshift spirals, as only by determining circular velocities can one distinguish between brightening due to instantaneous bursts of star formation, and more gradual changes in disk size, luminosity and mass due to growth in the underlying stellar populations. This work has been done in collaboration with members of the DEEP (Deep Extragalactic Evolution Project) team based at UC Santa Cruz and Caltech, as part of a long term survey of distant galaxies.

Dr. Vogt has also worked with Apache Point Observatory and Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, using multi-band imaging to study the structural and star formation properties of field spirals infalling into hot clusters. These data, in conjunction with Palomar, OVRO, and VLA multi-wavelength observations in the optical, submillimeter, and radio, can constrain the gas stripping mechanisms within the disks of these galaxies.

Primary funding for Dr. Vogt’s research program has come from a five year grant from the NSF Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Program, NASA Hubble Space Telescope grants, the NASA MUREP program, the NSF Advance-IT Program, and the NASA New Mexico Space Grant Consortium.


Dr. Vogt has taught an undergraduate Introduction to Astronomy course (ASTR110), and a Fall class for first year graduate students on Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASTR505). In Spring 2012, she again taught a popular course on Computational Astrophysics (ASTR575). She conducted a graduate seminar in Spring 2006 on interesting astronomical problems related to Black Hole Physics (ASTR500), and in Spring 2009, she led a graduate seminar on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (ASTR500).

Dr. Vogt has developed a model for presenting introductory astronomy classes in pure distance education mode, for students who are unable to maintain a weekly schedule of classroom attendance due to geographical or time constraints. A key component of this effort involves the creation of a large interactive library of general astronomy questions, linked to lecture notes and question-specific assistance, with instantaneous grading and feedback to encourage self-guided study. You can read more about the project here. This course was again on offer during Fall 2014 and Spring 2015.


Selected Publications

An Online Tutor for Astronomy: The GEAS Self-Review Library,
N. P. Vogt & A. Smith Muise 2015, Cogent Education, 2(1)

The Eleventh and Twelfth Data Releases of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey: Final Data from SDSS-III,
S. Alam et al. 2015, ApJS, 219, 12

A New Resource for College Distance Education Astronomy Laboratory Exercises,
N. P. Vogt, S. P. Cook, & A. Smith Muise 2013, AJDE, 27, 189

The DEEP Groth Strip Survey. I. The Sample,
N. P. Vogt, et al. 2005, ApJS, 159, 41

M/L, H-alpha Rotation Curves, and HI Measurements for 329 Nearby Cluster and Field Spirals: II. Evidence for Galaxy Infall
N. P. Vogt, M. P. Haynes, R. Giovanelli, & T. Herter 2004, AJ, 127, 3300

M/L, H-alpha Rotation Curves, and HI Measurements for 329 Nearby Cluster and Field Spirals: III. Evolution in Fundamental Galaxy Parameters
N. P. Vogt, M. P. Haynes, R. Giovanelli, & T. Herter 2004, AJ, 127, 3325

H-alpha Kinematics of a z ~ 1 Disc Galaxy from near-IR Integral Field Spectroscopy
J. K. Smith, A. J. Bunker, N. P. Vogt, R. G. Abraham, A. Aragon-Salamanca, R. G. Bower, I. R. Parry, R. G. Sharp, & A. M. Swinebank 2004, MNRAS, 354, L19.

Optical Rotation Curves of Distant Field Galaxies: Sub-L* Systems
N. P. Vogt, A. C. Phillips, S. M. Faber, J. Gallego, C. Gronwall, R. Guzman, G. D. Illingworth, D. C. Koo, & J. D. Lowenthal 1997, ApJ, 479, L121


All Publications