Astronomers like to blame ‘Spode’ when skies are cloudy, or when things go wrong. I’d like to introduce characters called ‘The Spodies’ who are the brainchild of Roger Prout. Roger was one of the founding members of the South Down Astronomical Society (SDAS), based in the Chichester area of West Sussex. (The South of England).
Many years ago, as a teenager in the 1970’s I was assistant editor to John Mason, producing a magazine called ‘Supernova’. This was the magazine of the SDAS, and it was widely regarded as the best astro society magazine in the UK at that time (well we certainly thought so). Here’s what a typical cover of Supernova looked like (we even had photos on later editions which was very rare at the time!)
Here’s one of the cartoons. This one showing the Spodies craftily directing clouds. This shows the Selsey peninsula and the telescope in question will certainly have been one belonging to Patrick Moore! (Patrick being a good friend of the SDAS).
Two more are shown below (click on them to see full-size). One refers to the state of British astronomy and the discovery of a nova in Cygnus by Japanese observer Minoru Honda (V1500 Cyg – Nova Cygni 1975). The other was topical at the time when Jupiter’s Great Red Spot all but disappeared.
Finally, meet the lovely Andromeda. Another of Roger’s creations, she graced the pages of Supernova from time to time. I always remember this particular cartoon, and I still chortle when I see it.