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Broom challenge sweeps the internet once again

Standing a broom upright can happen any day of the year, not just now

Broomstick Challenge 2020
Broomstick Challenge 2020 (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – When I went to bed last night, a broomstick was just that; a broomstick. Now, it’s become the center of another internet challenge. We saw a similar internet challenge in 2012.

This challenge claims that this is the only time of year we can stand a broom upright, when in reality it can happen any day of year. The earth is tilted at a 23.5° angle relative to the sun. This tilt is (fairly) constant and is not something that’s changed within the last few days.

Tilt of Earth
Tilt of Earth (NASA)

Similarly, the gravitational force we experience on Earth is constant (approximately 9.8 meters per second squared). That has not changed within the last few days to allow a broom to stand upright.

If you can find the center of the broom’s gravity, you can make this happen any day of the year. The bristles can spread far enough on most flat-bottomed brooms to provide a more stable base in contact with the ground. It takes a little patience and a steady hand to find that, though.

We don’t say this to kill the buzz. Instead, you can enjoy this physics experiment every day rather than just now.


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