The science behind the broom challenge: it’s not magic

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By STEM Caribbean | Posted on February 12, 2020

The viral hoax that swept the Internet on Monday was falsely attributed to some seemingly convincing claims. The most common was an alleged notice published by NASA claiming that February 10, 2020, was the only day brooms can stand on their own because of the Earth’s gravitational pull. People on social media were fascinated by this false explanation and started experimenting with brooms. However, the myth was debunked as quickly as it was spreading. Fun fact: you can make a broom stand on any day, not just February 10, 2020.

Viral standing broom trick that took over the Internet

The experts chimed in on this fun science observation that many people were getting wrong. It has nothing to do with the earth’s gravitational pull or magic. “It’s just physics,” NASA astronaut expressed matter-of-factly in a video tweeted by NASA on Tuesday.

Brooms are designed with a low center of gravity to make sweeping more seamless. The stick of a broom is also relatively light-weight while the bulk of the broom’s weight is closer to the ground, which makes it easy to balance the broom in an upright position once the bristles are spread out enough to support the weight of the broom.

The “standing broom” observation is nothing new and was actually around back in 2012. CNN included a video from that year in this article explaining the mystery.

Some viral posts are incredible, but remember to fact-check what you read on the Internet.

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