Science Of...

Phantom Rain That Never Falls

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In especially hot and dry climates, it can rain without water ever hitting the ground. This phenomenon is called virga, or "phantom rain," and resembles tails hanging below a cloud from afar. Because deserts have high temperatures and low humidity, virga tends to occur, the rain evaporating high in the sky.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Rain starts out as tiny droplets, and grow larger as they move through the water droplets inside the cloud. 00:10

  2. Especially in hot climates, phantom rain can exist, which is rain that evaporates before hitting the ground. 00:43

  3. HD 189733b is a planet in the "little fox" constellation where it rains glass sideways at 4,500 mph. 01:18