By Judy Bluhm

My broom failed me. It would not stand up. Didn’t NASA announce that the only day this upright broom phenomena could ever happen was on February 10? The “broomstick challenge” broke the internet with people all over the world posting photos of their brooms standing up all by themselves. Something about the gravitational pull on that day was “special.” No, dear readers, this was fake news. Nothing more than a hoax. My broom is proof of it.

Actually, after about a million social media posts, NASA came out with a YouTube video to clarify that it is a myth that February 10 had magical gravitation that could cause our brooms to stand upright. They pointed out that it can happen any day, any time, if you have the right broom (which I don’t). NASA also stated, in a scolding tone, that people need to stop “jumping to conclusions” and get their “facts straight” before they “get worked up.” Ha! Who was worked up? Just because we saw a million photos on Facebook and Instagram of upright brooms, doesn’t mean we took it seriously. Or did we?

Evidently, classrooms across America tried the experiment, and home improvement stores got in on the act. Plus, the military showed numerous “at-attention brooms.”

The truth is not very exciting. It seems that a broomstick can stand up anytime, since it depends on the center of gravity of the broom (how big is the bottom compared to the weight of the stick) and not some mysterious celestial intervention.

Okay, but now we have bigger mysteries to solve. We, lucky Arizonans, witnessed an amazing meteor streaming and banging through the atmosphere. If you were in Phoenix, you could see it – a flash of  white-light racing in the sky at 7:20 a.m. on February 16. If you lived in the Prescott, you might have been startled, awakened out of a deep sleep or terrified as you sipped your coffee by the sound of 100 sonic booms exploding in the heavens. Was it a crash? A bomb? What was happening?

No aliens landed. It was not a spaceship from a faraway galaxy. But we did have a meteor that traveled south of Prescott (confirmed by the American Meteor Society), smashing into the atmosphere. This was thrilling. So now many Arizonans are on the hunt to find fragments of this meteorite. Some folks looking for space rocks are doing it for the sake of science. These “little pebbles” can give information on the solar system and what the solar system is doing. They are invaluable and precious.

On the other hand, the hunt has been described as a “gold rush,” since the pieces of meteorite can be worth money. Lots of money. Time to do some outdoor clean-up? Look for small, matte black pebbles that don’t seem to belong in your yard – or in this world.

So grab your broom and sweep your driveway and patios for “gold.” This is the real “broomstick challenge.” Find a strange looking stone and you could be winning the “sweepstakes” of a lifetime. No hoax. Real science. And something to get worked up about.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at