Contact information

Mailing address:

PO Box 9

Observatory, 7935

South Africa

Phone: +27(0)21.460.6294

Email: amanda (at)


Useful links


This is the web site of Dr. Amanda Sickafoose (formerly Gulbis). I am a planetary astronomer who lives in Cape Town and works at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). I started working at the observatory as a SALT astronomer, and I have migrated into the SAAO instrumentation division. I hold a visiting scientist appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Research Interests

  • stellar occultations
  • trans-Neptunian objects (especially Pluto)
  • dusty plasmas
  • astronomical instrumentation

Please click on the research button at the top to learn more about my work in these areas.


Something to consider:

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination -- stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern -- of which I am a part... What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artist's of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?

Richard Feynman