Design You Trust:
Luckily, it wasn't too cold out, and the night sky was very clear. For the hour or two I was out there, I saw at least a dozen meteors. A few of them were very bright, with visible smoke trails. Early on, there was a meteor that was so large that it looked like a missile shooting across a large section of the sky!
Although they are known as shooting stars, meteors are actually small pieces of rocky debris that fall into our atmosphere. As they hit the air & burn up, we see the result as a fireball with a trail streaming behind it.
The annual Perseid shower is caused by Earth's orbit crossing the much larger orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. As we pass through the debris field, hundreds of rocky fragments floating in the wake of the comet are pulled toward Earth.
One of the biggest priorities of the human race should be to locate large asteroids that have the potential to cause major damage should they impact the planet. There are giant rocky bodies hurtling through space that could cause major planetary catastrophe, yet humans are blissfully unaware of the potential for disaster that exists because we have not made the effort to plan for such an event.
Hopefully, the cosmos and its random processes spare us for awhile longer until we get our act together. We either need to find a way to track & deter an asteroid, or we learn to exist off this planet for extended periods of time...