Internet users around world broke out their cleaning supplies on Monday to take part in the "Broom Challenge." According to the viral tweet that kicked off the trend, NASA claimed February 10 is the one day of the year a broom can stand up on its own, thanks to some quirk of the Earth's gravitational pull. The many people who copied the trick proved balancing a broom is indeed possible, but every other part of the tweet was false.
As USA Today reports, you can make a broom stand up straight any day of the year, and it appears that NASA never claimed otherwise. The phenomenon isn't the result of witchcraft or some rare alignment of the planets; it has everything to do with the broom's design.
A typical broom's center of gravity falls between the base of its handle and the top of its head. This low center of gravity gives a broom stability, and if you prop one up on its bristles, it should have no trouble staying upright—no matter where the planets are in the sky.
The challenge went viral recently, but it's been around in some form or another for many years. If you balanced eggs on the spring equinox in elementary school, that trick was also based on a lie. Like brooms, eggs can stand up on their end all year round, and they also owe their stability to a low center of gravity.
[h/t USA Today]