You and I would be dead if the falling stars that are showering down on us now were actually stars. "Comet vomit" is a better way to describe them. You may know that comets orbit the sun, just as our Earth does. A comet's orbit is so very, very elongated that it's shaped almost like a cucumber. But the sun is nowhere near the center of this orbit; it's way at one end. This means the comet spends most of its time orbiting so far away from the sun that it's frozen. In fact, "dirty snowball" is how scientists often describe the ball of frozen-together pebbles and rocks that we call a comet.

Can you guess what happens to a dirty snowball when it's moving through the part of part of its orbit where it's close to the heat of the sun? Yup, it melts - or at least the outer layers do. This releases a mess of pebbles that I call "comet vomit." All this debris sparkles in the sunlight and forms the comet's tail. Then the comet returns to cold, dark space. But it doesn't clean up after itself! It leaves a mess of debris behind.

The meteor shower happening now is debris left behind by Comet xxx. It vomits out debris at the mid-August part of our yearly orbit around the sun. Each time we orbit through mid-August, we re-visit this debris. Our earth's gravity pulls the debris toward us. As this stuff rubs up against the droplets of moisture and particles of dust in our atmosphere, it creates friction, and the friction makes the debris particles burn. Yes, incinerating comet vomit is the breathtakingly beautiful sight we get to enjoy now!