You've probably seen people trying to balance their broomsticks on social media lately. The broom challenge has gotten to everyone to join in on the balancing act — including celebs like DJ Khaled and Paula Abdul. So, how does the broom challenge work? Here are the details so you can join in on the fun.
Taking part in the broom challenge is simple. All you need to do is get your broom to stand up on its own, and then share photos and videos of your accomplishment on the internet. Though it may appear impossible at first, plenty of fans have been documenting their successes on social media.
The 2020 version of this challenge started after a Twitter video from user @mikaiylaaaaa went viral. (A similar challenge also hit the web in 2012.) In the video, @mikaiylaaaaa claimed that NASA had stated the broom balancing trick would only work on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, because of "gravitational pull." She shared, "Okay so NASA said today was the only day a broom can stand up on its own because of the gravitational pull...I didn’t believe it at first but OMG!" Even though there was no evidence of an announcement from NASA about this special day of gravitational pull, people in the replies were amazed.
It turns out, NASA never actually made claims about a special gravitational pull on Monday, Feb. 10. NASA responded to the #BroomstickChallenge with a Twitter video shared on Tuesday, Feb. 11. In the video, Astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sarah Noble display a standing broom on Tuesday, Feb. 11 to show that "basic physics works every day of the year." If you're using a basic bristle broom, you can balance upright, similar to the way a tripod balances. As Drew says in the video: "It's just physics."
Today Show co-host Al Roker also debunked the viral trend in a Twitter video by demonstrating a perfectly upright broom on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Roker wrote on Twitter, "This whole #broomchallange is a #hoax. @NASA did not tweet out that brooms would balance yesterday. You can do it any day if you have these bristle brooms."
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Twitter account helped explain this mystery as well. On Tuesday, the account shared a picture of an upright broom, and shed light on why it works: "It's actually its low center of gravity that allows a broom to balance on its bristles today and any day."
The debunked theory is good news for fans who missed the chance to try out the balancing act on Monday, Feb. 10. Since there isn't actually a day where this household item will stand upright due to the supposed gravitational pull, you can continue the fun for the rest of the year — all you'll need is the right broom.