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When raindrops first form and drop out of clouds, they are very large -- sometimes as
big as baseballs. They are also nicely spherical due to the surface tension inherent in
But as raindrops fall, air resistance drags on the drops and distorts them. We typically
represent that distortion as a teardrop because that's the shape they make when
they're hanging off something here on the ground. But in the air, raindrops actually
take on other shapes that are more like pancakes, parachutes, or broken grocery

Each raindrop, still falling, reaches a point where the air resistance is so great that the
drop flattens out and then bursts. What hits the earth, then, are the fragments of
larger raindrops that have exploded on the way down.
Very small droplets, those with a radius of 0.014 cm, remain spherical the whole way
There's another fact about raindrops that may also be related to the way they break
up on the way down. You would think that larger raindrops fall faster than smaller
raindrops; i.e., the force of gravity acting on an object with more mass would give it
greater acceleration than a smaller object. However, two researchers from Michigan
Tech University discovered that some smaller raindrops actually fall faster than larger