“In such moments, offering up his heart at the hour when the flowers of night inhale their perfume, lighted like a lamp in the center of the starry night, expanding his soul in ecstasy in the midst of the universal radiance of creation, he could not himself perhaps have told what was passing in his own mind; he felt something depart from him, and something descend upon him, mysterious interchanges of the depths of the soul with the depths of the universe.” –Victor Hugo
The night sky is a memorable, inimitable sight. With the exception of the planets, the stars that shine so brightly and consistently on your birthday will be the same ones — in both position and brightness — that shine on your dying day.
But as recognizable as the stars and constellations are, the skies we recognize would have nothing in common with the skies as they were back when Earth first formed more than four billion years ago. How would the night sky have looked different back then?