I see you're just playing with words, and not really asking a question. But I shot a really good photo of virga a few years ago and thought I'd share it here. It is indeed a sublime phenomenon. Enjoy: http://heimhenge.com/skylights/2010/05/15/qa-rain-that-doesnt/
Brings to mind that classic by Stevie Ray Vaughan, "The Sky is Crying." Truly a beautiful phenomenon, especially around sunrise or sunset when you get the orange-red colors.
Yes, I though the side-by-side comparison was a great way to show the difference. I've seen the type of "partial rainbow" you describe, but don't have my own photo. I did find this one at AccuWeather.com. Not sure if it's in virga or just a highly localized rain shower. Hard to tell from the exposure, which was probably optimized for the faint rainbow. Is this what you meant by "hanging off the ground?"
I am not sure that's not because the view itself is cut off behind 2 fog banks .
In this one it looks like the rainbow fades away for lack of moisture below. I've seen like this before.
Beautiful image! Shows exactly the effect you described. And the virga is actually visible in that photo, but since the Sun is behind the camera on that shot, the virga looks light gray instead of the dark blue-gray in my photo (where the Sun was behind the virga).
And … since there's hot air balloons aloft, meaning the temps are cooler, that could actually be snow virga higher up turning into liquid virga at lower altitudes and evaporating completely before reaching the ground. Now that would be a sublime image.
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