Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:
He pointed to the northeast. My grandfather felt his heart leap. A star had popped loose from its constellation and gone rolling down the sky. It was falling, but it was not a falling star. It did not flare up and wink out and leave a glowing ghost mark on the retinas. It just kept falling, and falling, and falling, until it disappeared behind the curvature of the earth. It was a prisoner of gravity like everything in the universe. Its orbit would degrade. It would spiral inward until it hit the air and then burn up and break apart and leave nothing but vapor and a memory. And then in time the memory itself would fade like vapor. But to my grandfather, watching secretly from the roof of the Wallkill prison, the passage of that chunk of radiant metal seemed to describe an everlasting arc of freedom. “Wow,” he said. “Look at that.”
“Sputnik!” Dr. Storch said with a childish glee.