The Broom challenge has gone viral on social media and the hashtag #BroomChallenge is trending on Twitter — but right at the center of the trend there’s a hilarious hoax.
People participating in the Broom Challenge have been posting videos of their brooms upright without any visible support.
If you scroll through your Twitter page you will likely see photos and videos of brooms standing upright on their own and people citing NASA as having released an announcement that sparked the trend.
What is the broom challenge about?
According to users on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook — hopefully most of whom are in on the joke — the viral trend was sparked after NASA announced that people can make their brooms stand upright without support only on Monday, February 10, because of something about the Earth’s gravitational pull on that day.
Some social media users added that a planetary alignment as we approach spring equinox is part of the explanation. Others claimed that the Earth’s rotation will be in a special kind of balance that allows people to make their brooms stand upright.
There are different explanations of the alleged NASA statement but all agree that NASA said that February 10 is the only day that a broom can stand on its own because of some special effects linked to astronomical phenomena.
NASA has not released a statement about brooms being able to stand up only on February 10
Despite the claims on social media, no one has found any actual statement by NASA that people would be able to make their brooms stand upright on February 10 due to gravitation, the Earth’s rotation or planetary alignment. However, this detail has certainly not stopped thousands of social media users from participating in the viral challenge.
— EyeJay (@therealeyejay) February 11, 2020
— ❥ ⓃⒶⓎⒺⓁⒾ⁷ ᯾ ? ?? ?????? ??? (@yoongisoju) February 11, 2020
— jughead?? (@AnuRealest) February 11, 2020
— Jay Tea (@Josh_TheBoss2) February 11, 2020
Broom Challenge hoax: There is no special gravitational effect on February 10
Experts who have commented on the Broom Challenge (see videos below) say there is nothing special or unusual about the earth’s gravitational pull on February 10 which would why you can make your broom stand upright on that day.
If you were able to make your broom stand upright by itself on February 10, then you can also make it stand upright on any other day.
According to a meteorologist on CNN, the reason why you can make your broom stand on its bristles without support is all about balance. Brooms have a low center of gravity that is located directly over the bristles (see video below).
So if you have a broom with strong and firm bristles, you can, if you try hard enough, arrange the bristles like a tripod on a flat surface so that the long handle balances on them.
And you can do this at any time of the day and on any day of the year — not only on February 10 — because it has nothing to do with a change in the gravitational pull of the Earth or any special planetary alignment on February 10.