Equinox Silliness

The vernal equinox is a day earlier than usual this year because we just had a leap day. Spring officially begins at 1:14 AM Tuesday in the US Eastern time zone, and that means Monday night in the western part of the country. Some people celebrate the equinox by standing a broom on end or standing an egg on its end. Why?
One thing the equinox does not not NOT NOT mean is that you can balance ungainly objects on their ends on this day! This used to mean egg standing — more on that in a sec — but for reasons beyond my ability to parse the newest version of this involves standing brooms on their bristles. Don’t believe me? Here’s a gallery of people doing it. I’ve been hearing a lot about this, but it has nothing to do with the equinox (or the recent solar activity, another odd idea that’s going around). It’s actually a simply matter of center of mass and flat bristles. Honestly, it’s not more mysterious than standing a brick up. Here’s a good video explanation of it.

The picture above of the broom standing? That was taken on October 27, 2009. So there ya go. Also, you can try this: if you have a broom you can stand today, wait a week and try again. It’ll stand then, too, if you try hard enough.

If you replace the word "broom" with "egg" then we’ve heard this all before.

You'll find instructions for standing an egg on its end (any day of the year) at Bad Astronomy. Link

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