The Sound Kitchen

Astronomy 101: what is a solstice?

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This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear the answer to the question about the solstice. There’s Eid al-Adha greetings from listener Najimuddin from India, musings on gratitude and happiness, great music, and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the “Audio” arrow above and enjoy!

Sound Kitchen Podcast
Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winner’s names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.

For the time being, Paris Live, our afternoon news broadcast, is still off-the-air. We will let you know as soon as we can safely bring it back to you. Thank you all for your patience, and for your support of the English service during this difficult time.

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RFI Clubs: Be sure to always include Audrey Iattoni (  from our Listener Relations department on all your RFI Club correspondence. Remember to copy me ( when you write them so that I know what is going on, too. N.B. You do not need to send her your quiz answers! Email overload!

And don't forget, there is a Facebook page just for you, the RFI English Clubs. It is a closed group, so when you apply to join, be sure you include the name of your RFI Club and your membership number. Everyone can look at it, but only members of the group can post on it. If you haven’t yet asked to join the group, and you are a member of an independent, officially recognised RFI English Club, go to the Facebook link above and fill out the questionnaire!!!!! (if you do not answer the questions, I click “decline”).

There’s a new Facebook page for members of the general RFI Listeners Club. Just click on the link and fill out the questionnaire, and you can connect with your fellow Club members around the world. Be sure you include your RFI Listeners Club membership number (most of them begin with an A, followed by a number) in the questionnaire, or I will have to click “Decline”, which I don’t like to do!

To join the RFI Listeners Club, just write to me at and tell me you want to join, and I’ll send you a membership number. It’s that easy. When you win a Sound Kitchen quiz as an RFI Listeners Club member, you receive a premium prize.

This week’s quiz:  On 20 June, I asked you a question about the solstice - on that day, it was the winter solstice for the southern hemisphere and the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere. I asked you to write in with a simple definition of what happens, astronomically, during a solstice.

The answer is: At its simplest, a solstice is when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator. This happens twice a year: around 20 June, when the sun reaches its northernmost point on the celestial sphere, and around 22 December, when it reaches its southernmost point. The solstice in June marks the longest day of the year for the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of the year for the southern hemisphere. The reverse is true for the December solstice: it’s the shortest day of the year for the northern hemisphere and the longest day of the year for the southern.

The winners are: Sultan Mahmud Sarker, the president of the Shetu RFI Listeners Club in Naogaon, Bangladesh; Ali Shahzad, a member of the RFI Seven Stars Radio Listeners Club in District Chiniot, Pakistan; Muhammad Shamim S, the president of the RFI Golden Eagles Club in Keralam State, India, and two RFI Listeners Club members: Amena Khanam Sale from Naranganj, Bangladesh and Muhammad Nasyr from Katsina State, Nigeria.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program: The second movement from Maurice Ravel's Quartet in F, performed by the Fine Arts Quartet; "Here Comes the Sun" by George Harrison, performed by Classical Gas; "The Flight of the Bumblebee" by Nicolas Rimsky-Korsakov, and "Alf Lela We Lela", by Baleegh Hamdy and Morse Gamel Aziz, sung by Umm Kulthum. 

Do you have a musical request? Send it to

This week’s question ... You'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 28 September to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 3 October podcast. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:


Susan Owensby

RFI – The Sound Kitchen

80, rue Camille Desmoulins

92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux



By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then 33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here


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