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#BroomChallenge: You can actually stand a broom up anytime during the year

A new trend is "sweeping" the nation, and unfortunately, it's based on faulty science. 

The "Broom Challenge" came from a viral tweet that claimed NASA had said  Monday was the only day a broom could stand on its own because of the  Earth’s gravitational pull.

There hasn't been any evidence to support the claim that NASA had ever made such an announcement.

The tweet was accompanied by a video shot from a woman’s point of view as  she delicately stood a broom up and watched as it balanced itself.

“Oh my God!” she exclaims in the video. “No strings, nothing.”

The tweet was shared almost 50,000 times and prompted others to record themselves as they tried the broom challenge.

Even celebrities and sports teams got into the broom challenge groove and shared their videos on Twitter. 

Karen Northon, public affairs officer for NASA headquarters, told USA TODAY  Tuesday that while the broom hoax was "harmless," it's important to  fact-check and research "before jumping into the latest viral craze." 

"This is another social media hoax that exemplifies how quickly pseudoscience and false claims can go viral," she said.

Paul Sutter, astrophysicist and author of "Your Place in the Universe," says the party trick can be done anytime during the year at any point of the day.

"I hate to be that astronomer, but the planets don't care about your broom," he told USA TODAY.

The trick has less to do with the Earth’s gravitational pull on a certain  day and more to do with the object’s center of gravity. Brooms have a  low center of gravity, which allows them to balance effortlessly on  their bristles, he said. 

The debunked broom challenge is also nothing new. The myth of the magic  broom has circulated as early as 2012 and seems to surface every year  during the spring equinox, also known as the vernal equinox, according to a CNN video. This year, the spring equinox isn't until March 19.

But there is a special occurrence happening in our solar system this year,  Sutter said. In February, Earth is sharing the same side of the solar  system as five other planets in a planetary alignment, making them more  visible to the human eye. 

Stargazers can point out Mercury and Venus right after sunset and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn right before sunrise. 

"When you're done balancing your broom, you can go outside and see five planets in the sky at night," he said.

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