Richard Henry

David Ross Boyd Professor, Emeritus



Kinney-Sugg Outstanding Professor Award

David Ross Boyd Professorship

Presidential Professorship

General Education Teaching Award

Regents' Award for Superior Teaching



B.A. 1977 Kansas

Ph.D. 1983 Michigan



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Ph: (405) 325-6243

Office: 225 Nielsen Hall


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Research Description

My research focuses on the cosmic chemical evolution of elements in the first three rows of the periodic table, e.g., C, N, O, Ne, S, Cl, and Ar, by studying the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies over a broad redshift range. My long-term collaborators include Reggie Dufour (Rice), Karen Kwitter (Williams College), Bruce Balick (U. Washington), and Jackie Milingo (Gettysburg College). Together we measure the interstellar abundances of these elements spectroscopically by observing ISM abundance probes such as H II regions and planetary nebulae. These are regions associated with recent star formation and star death, respectively, in which hot stars heat the surrounding low density nebulae and cause the latter to radiate in discrete emission lines. In turn, these lines are converted into elemental abundances representative of the interstellar material out of which the objects formed.

Once the abundance information becomes available, I then compute both detailed photoionization and chemical evolution models to interpret the results in a galactic context. Lately, our studies have focused on the disks of the Milky Way and M31 galaxies. Our data have recently been obtained during observing runs at McDonald, Gemini North, Kitt Peak, Cerro Tololo, Apache Point, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Hubble Space Telescope observatories.

Selected Publications

"Carbon And Oxygen Abundances In Low Metallicity Dwarf Galaxies," D.A. Berg, E.D. Skillman, R.B.C. Henry, D.K. Erb, L. Carigi, Astrophysical Journal, 827(2), 126, (2016) arXiv: DOI: 10.3847/0004-637X/827/2/126

"Co-spatial Long-slit UV/Optical Spectra of Ten Galactic Planetary Nebulae with HST/STIS II. Nebular Models, Central Star Properties and He+CNO Synthesis," R.B.C. Henry, B. Balick, R.J. Dufour, K.B. Kwitter, R.A. Shaw, T.R. Miller, & J.F. Buell , Astrophysical Journal, 813(2), 121, (2015) ADS: 2015ApJ...813..121H

"The Chemistry of Planetary Nebulae in the Outer Regions of M31," Corradi, R. L. M.; Kwitter, K. B.; Balick, B.; Henry, R. B. C.; Hensley, K., Astrophysical Journal, 807(2), 181, (2015) ADS: 2015ApJ...807..181C

"Co-spatial Long-slit UV/Optical AL Spectra of 10 Galactic Planetary Nebulae with HST/STIS. I. Description of the Observations, Global Emission-line Measurements, and CNO Abundances," Dufour, Reginald J.; Kwitter, Karen B.; Shaw, Richard A.; Henry, Richard B. C.; Balick, Bruce; Corradi, Romano L. M., Astrophysical Journal, 803, 23, (2015) ADS: 2015ApJ...803...23D

"The Present and Future of Planetary Nebula Research. A White Paper by the IAU Planetary Nebula Working Group," Kwitter, K. B.; Méndez, R. H.; Peña, M.; Stanghellini, L.; Corradi, R. L. M.; De Marco, O.; Fang, X.; Henry, R. B. C.; Karakas, A. I.; Liu, X.-W.; and 3 coauthors, Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica Vol. 50, pp. 203-223 (2014) , 50, 203, (2014) ADS: 2014RMxAA..50..203K

"Metal-rich Planetary Nebulae in the Outer Reaches of M31," Balick, B.; Kwitter, K. B.; Corradi, R. L. M.; Henry, R. B. C., Astrophysical Journal, 774, 1-10, (2013) ADS: 2013ApJ...774....3B

"Abundances of Planetary Nebulae in the Outer Disk of M31," K.B. Kwitter, E.M.M. Lehman, B. Balick, R.B.C. Henry, Astrophys. J., 753, 12, (2012) ADS: 2012ApJ...753...12K

See more publications.