NASA wants everyone to know that “basic physics” ― not some mythical fluctuation in gravity ― is the reason a broomstick can stand upright on its own.
The government space agency shared a video of NASA astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sarah Noble answering the trending Twitter #BroomstickChallenge on Tuesday ― a day after what was purported to be the only day of the year the feat could be accomplished.
“Did you do the Broomstick Challenge yesterday?” asks Noble in the video. “Well, turns out you can do it again today.”
“It’s just physics,” responds Drew.
In case you missed the #BroomstickChallenge hype, it began on Monday when someone shared a video on Twitter claiming NASA had said that February 10 was the only day of the year when a broom could stand up on its own “because of the gravitational pull.”
The video then shows the tweeter standing a broom upright on the floor, where it remains even after the person removes her hands.
The tweet garnered thousands of responses as others around the globe rushed to grab their brooms and try the trick for themselves.
However, there’s no evidence that NASA had ever said anything about broomsticks, February 10 and gravitational pull until the challenge went viral.
That’s when NASA pointed out that brooms can stand up on their own any day of the year. A household broom’s center of gravity is low and the bristles often are wide enough to act as a base to support the handle.
NASA Earth’s account also tweeted about the challenge in response to NASA’s master account, explaining that “there’s no special gravity that only affects brooms.”
As a CNN video from 2012 explains, the broom myth is a variation of an old wives’ tale that eggs can balance on their ends only on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. Like brooms, eggs can always do that.
So, rejoice broom-believers. You can play with your broom any old time.