It doesn't take long for those who are tapped into the pulse of the internet to take different internet rumors, trends, and challenges to the extreme. And in some cases, you almost feel left out if you too aren't at the epicenter of the latest craze on the web. So when someone tweeted that, according to NASA, Feb. 10 was the only day out of the year that a household broom could stand upright on its own, people were quick to jump on that bandwagon.
But for those wondering why their brooms are standing by themselves, the answer is a lot simpler than some special day that comes once per year. In fact, there doesn't even seem to be a direct announcement from NASA that allegedly started the day-long fad. If you were one of many who ran out to Walmart to test the theory on an aisle full of brooms, though, don't beat yourself up about it.
So, why is my broom standing by itself?
When people started posting viral videos of themselves and others standing up their brooms on Feb. 10, it started an internet debate of why it was happening. And the wildest thing is that no one had quite the same answer. Some claimed it was simply "because NASA said so," while others cited the earth's gravitational pull on that date. Even still, others claimed it was because of the earth's tilt alone.
There are conflicting reasons about why brooms were standing by themselves because the source of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it fad was unclear from the start. One person claimed it was backed by NASA-researched science and it snowballed from there, as these things often do. They wouldn't be internet fads if they didn't.
You can test the broom trick any day out of the year.
When it comes down to it, the real reason brooms were standing up by themselves was because of gravity. The truth is, the idea of a broom standing up by itself because of the earth's gravitational pull is nothing new. There was a CNN news clip from 2012 that actually dispelled the notion altogether since there is also a theory that the spring equinox causes the same effect as people claimed the elusive Feb. 10 date did.
The news clip explained that the broom trick is all about the broom's center of gravity, which doesn't change throughout the year. A broom's center of gravity is in its bristles at its base. If you can get your own broom to stand at just the right angle with its bristles acting almost as a tripod then you too can make your broom stand upright on its own. And it doesn't even have to be Feb. 10.
It won't work with every broom.
The variable in getting your broom to stand upright isn't the day of year you try it, but the quality of your broom. If the bristles are a little worse for wear, then you probably won't be able to get it to stand upright. In 2012, Coastal Carolina University physics professor Teresa Burns told WPDE News in South Carolina that the broom experiment can be done any day of the year, but it just takes practice and belief in yourself. But, she pointed out, "that's the important part of science."