Even though the year just started, it’s already filled with a variety of memes, but one accidentally started by NASA has stood out the most: the Broom Challenge. The fad was inspired by an alleged viral tweet from NASA. The supposed tweet stated that Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, was the only day a broom could stand up on its own. It claimed that this was because of the way the Earth’s gravitational pull was aligned on that day. As soon as this tweet was posted, the internet was filled with people trying it out themselves.
Soon enough, #BroomstickChallenge started trending. One of the first Twitter users to “prove” that gravity was acting weird was @mikaiylaaaaa, whose video has attained over 8.5 million views.
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! 😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/M0HCeemyGt
— mk (@mikaiylaaaaa) February 10, 2020
Once this video went viral, Twitter overflowed with people trying to get their brooms to stand up by themselves. One user took the challenge to the next level by doing it in a grocery story with multiple brooms. @owaisxraza posted to Twitter, “NASA was right – live footage from the grocery store yesterday”
— Owais Raza (@owaisxraza) February 11, 2020
A few people poked fun at the challenge. @Josh_TheBoss2 tweeted, “Can’t decide which one to take” along with a picture of a couple free-standing brooms.
Like they do with every new craze, celebrities started participating. The two most popular were Jared Leto and Paula Abdul’s videos of the challenge. Jared Leto posted a video of two brooms standing on their own and captioned it with an emoji.
Paula Abdul added her own spin to the challenge and posted a video of her, in her pajamas, dancing around the broom. Fans loved the twist she put on it, and it really made her version of the challenge stand out.
— Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) February 11, 2020
DJ Khaled also took on the challenge, and did not hide his shock at all. On an Instagram story post, Khaled tried the challenge and later took time to explain his theory of how it works. While the reaction itself was funny, his theorizing ended up becoming a meme as well. One Twitter user wrote, “Dj khaled acting like he learnt the word theory of the first time in his life #broomchallenge #dj khaled.”
— nafeesa | نفيسة (@NaFifa17) February 11, 2020
Nevertheless, his challenge was one of the more entertaining ones.
Along with celebrities, many sports teams also hopped on the trend. The Milwaukee Bucks tweeted out a video of a broom and their mascot, captioning it, “Perfect night for a sweep. ”
The Miami Heat also took on the challenge in the aftermath of their victory against Golden State. The team posted a video of their version of the challenge, along with the final score from their most recent game. They captioned it, “Swept Golden State. #BroomChallenge success. #WINNING.”
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 11, 2020
The theory behind the challenge was that on one certain day, the Earth’s gravitational pull was different enough to make the broom stand up by itself. It was supposed to only happen on this particular day, but scientists were quick to disprove this. An astronomer named Phil Plait addressed the Broom Challenge in a tweet. He stated, “As for the #BroomChallenge itself: If the broom stands up, it stands up. But it has nothing to do with Earth’s gravity in balance or whatever.”
As for the #BroomChallenge itself: If the broom stands up, it stands up. But it has nothing to do with Earth’s gravity in balance or whatever.
Here’s what you need to read:https://t.co/XxvTpy1429
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) February 11, 2020
This also isn’t the first time the challenge made rounds on the internet. In 2012, the challenge started to gain traction, but it never blew up as much as it did this year. The reality of the challenge is that there is no gravitational pull that makes the broom stand up on a certain day. This can actually be done any day. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Carnegie Mellon University Professor of Physics Manfred Paulini explained that “the center of mass is where the most mass of the object is. For a broom with heavy bristles, the center of mass is lower, making it easier to balance. If the heavy part of an object is close to the ground, then it is easier to balance.”
NASA also later tweeted about the challenge, saying “Astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sarah Noble respond to the #BroomstickChallenge, showing that basic physics works every day of the year — not just February 10th.”
— NASA (@NASA) February 11, 2020
There is also no proof of the original NASA tweet that apparently started the trend. Despite this, and the theory being disproved, it was still a fun trend that took over the internet for a brief moment. People put their own twist to the challenge, making Twitter addicting to scroll through for a few days.