On Monday, the “Broom Challenge” took the internet by storm as people were eager to see if their brooms could stand up on their own by their bristles in the middle of the room.
A viral tweet claimed that the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) said that Monday was the only day brooms could stand on their own due to the Earth’s gravitational pull.
There is no evidence that supports the claim.
The tweet was followed by a video a woman shot with her broom standing in the middle of the floor. The woman in the video was flabbergasted as the broom stood on its own and didn’t fall over.
Of course, this tweet encouraged many people to try it for themselves to see if something that was probably never tried before could happen.
“My roommate showed me a video and thought it was a myth, so I was intrigued to try it,” Mackenzie Morgan (junior, nursing) said. “When it worked, I was very shocked.
“However, after midnight, I didn’t think it was real. I wanted to believe NASA, but I’m still skeptical. Once we saw it all over social media, we went on the internet and found the story. I believed it at first, but I am very unsure now.”
While NASA didn’t release an article, it has spoken to different sources about the trend.
The trend is making many people believe in the tweet that NASA supposedly claimed. However, there are many people who don’t believe in the trend occurring just on Monday.
Many people believe the trend and the news is based on faulty science and believe the reason why brooms can stand on their own in the middle of the floor is due to the broom’s center of gravity and design instead of the Earth’s gravitational pull.
“I saw it on one of the guys on the basketball team’s Snapchat story,” Manijah Henry (senior, political science) said. “I tried it at first, and it didn’t work, then I got it and just watched how long it could stand for.
“I think it is a lie because the broom is still standing in my room now, and I think you can get anything to balance if you try hard enough. I believe it is fake news.”
Experts claim that this “trend” can occur anytime during the year.
According to astrophysicist Paul Sutter, the trick has more to do with the object’s center of gravity, and brooms have a low center of gravity, allowing them to balance effortlessly on their bristles.
Many people had the initial reaction of believing it was fake news from the start.
“I heard about it through Snapchat,” Mitchell Angelo (senior, international studies) said. “My initial reaction was that I didn’t believe that the broom standing up on its own was due to the gravitational forces from the Earth on Monday or the magnetic poles.
“I’ve taken physics and know that isn’t the case. It’s not the alignment of the planets or the gravitational force; it’s simply physics. The broom standing up on its own in the middle of the floor occurs due to the broom’s design and center of gravity. You are essentially just creating a tripod with the ends of the broom. The broom will stand on its own on the floor any day if you balance it well enough.”
According to USA Today, this isn’t the first time the Broom Challenge has circulated. In 2012, the Broom Challenge circulated and seems to recur every year around the time of the spring equinox.
People use the spring equinox occurrence to relate it to Earth’s gravity to explain why the broom trick works.
“This is another social media hoax that exemplifies how quickly pseudoscience and false claims can go viral,” said Karen Northon, NASA communications spokeswoman to ABC News.
NASA called the hoax “harmless,” but Northon suggests people fact check with NASA’s online resources and look for “real science fun facts before jumping into the latest viral craze.”