Standing Brooms: Result of Earth’s Gravitational Pull?

Al Roker from the Today Show joins in the fun of the broomstick challenge. Photo courtesy of the Today Show on

Al Roker from the Today Show joins in the fun of the broomstick challenge. Photo courtesy of the Today Show on

No matter where you look, you have probably seen the so-called ‘standing broom’ trick. After NASA allegedly released a statement saying that brooms were capable of standing on their own due to the gravitational pull on February 10th, 2020 — and only on that day — the internet went to work posting thousands of videos of brooms standing on their bristle ends.

Sorry to disappoint, but this trick is nothing more than basic physics. After skeptical users on twitter began investigating, they realized NASA never released anything claiming the trick was real and, quite frankly, they probably have much more important things to do than figuring out why a broomstick can stand on its end and not fall over.

However, NASA eventually released a video from astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sarah Noble saying that the broomstick challenge was, in fact, a hoax. In the video, Drew propped the broom up in approximately 5 seconds as Noble explained that it was due to simple physics that work every day of the year, not just February 10th.

Nonetheless, the public still found the trick entertaining and began trying with other items. Eggs were another popular object people found could stand upright on its bottom. Although it may seem like an egg is far more impressive to balance than a broomstick, the same rules of physics apply to both of them. They even apply to us as we walk around every single day.

To further explain the science going on behind the trick, one would need to understand the term “center of mass.” In this case, the broom’s center of mass is located towards the bottom of the handle, giving it the balance it needs to stand on its bristles alone. And although gravity from the moon has the ability to control tides, it is too weak to have an effect on the broom.

In the case of an increase in gravity on the Earth, which was originally theorized on the internet, scientists say it would be a clear “everyone dies” scenario. In other words, researchers have proposed that a change in gravitational pull would cause the ultimate demise of planet Earth and everyone inhabiting it. Life as we know it would cease to exist as Earth was thrown into an unfortunate chain of events and eventually succumbed to the effects.

If the gravitational forces began to pull harder on the Earth, everything would become much heavier; this is the same reason why people weigh less on the moon. This would force the Earth’s orbit around the Sun to become tighter, pulling us so close that a cataclysmic disaster would occur and leave only a small fraction of the population alive. That small sliver of individuals would eventually fall victim to natural causes like dehydration, starvation, and illness.

In other words, we’re quite fortunate that the broomstick trick is the result of basic physics. As we’ve seen, anything requiring a change in gravity would result in an apocalyptic end to the human race. After the world was burdened with famine, disease, and a collapse of the global economy, it would meet its fiery end. At the end of the day, our world will have been left uninhabitable and empty, but at least we got to see a broomstick stand up!