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the annual Perseid meteor shower begins this week, slowly at first, with just a few meteors per hour, then building to a peak dozens of times more intense on Tuesday, August 12th. The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has littered the August portion of Earth's orbit with space dust. Yet "this fireball was not a Perseid," notes Ashcraft. It did not fly out of the constellation Perseus as a genuine speck of Comet Swift-Tuttle would. Instead, it was probably a random piece of comet or asteroid, not part of any organized debris stream. Every hour of every night, a few such "sporadic meteors" can be seen from any location on Earth. Most are feeble, but some produce brilliant fireballs, as shown above. Keep an eye on the sky in the nights ahead. The Perseids are coming and the sporadics are already here. [full story] [sky map]