Sanduleak's parents were born in Romania. His family moved to Cleveland soon after he was born, where Sanduleak did undergraduate work at the Case Institute of Technology, receiving a B.S. in 1956. After serving in the Army, Sanduleak came back to Case Institute, receiving a master's degree in 1961 and a doctorate in 1965. His advisor was Dr. Victor Manuel Blanco. After working at the Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololo Observatories, Sanduleak moved to the Warner and Swasey Observatory, where he remained until his death from cardiac arrest.
Sanduleak was a spectroscopist who worked on a number of very large objective prism surveys. He was the first to discover metallicity differences between the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, and wrote papers about a number of spectroscopically interesting objects. He produced a catalogue of stars in the Magellanic Clouds which included the star Sanduleak -69° 202, the progenitor of the supernova SN 1987A. The asteroid 9403 Sanduleak is named after him.
- Obituary: Nicholas Sanduleak, 1933-1990, Charles Bruce Stephenson, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 23, #4 (September 1991), pp. 1491–1492.
- Nicholas SANDULEAK (1933-1990), web page, accessed on line September 18, 2007.
- 9403 Sanduleak (1994 UJ11), web page at the JPL Small-Body Database Browser, accessed on line September 18, 2007.
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