This is Ash Wednesday.
The moon is waxing, moving toward its first quarter.
The morning star is Mercury.
The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Bess Truman, wife of President Truman, in 1885; artist Grant Wood in 1892; entertainer "Tennessee" Ernie Ford in 1919; famed test pilot Chuck Yaeger in 1923 (age 79); actors Kim Novak in 1933 (age 69), George Segal in 1934 (age 68), Oliver Reed in 1938, Carol Lynley in 1942 (age 60) and Stockard Channing in 1944 (age 58); talk show host Jerry Springer, also in 1944 (age 58); musicians Peter Tork of the Monkees in 1944 (age 58) and Peter Gabriel of Genesis in 1950 (age 52); and singer/actor James Naughton in 1951 (age 51).
On this date in history:
In 1635, the oldest public institution in America, the Boston Latin School, was founded.
In 1945, Allied firebombing of the German city of Dresden caused a firestorm that destroyed the city and killed 135,000 people.
Also in 1945, Soviet forces captured Budapest, Hungary. The 49-day battle killed more than 50,000 German troops.
In 1974, the Soviet Union expelled dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
In 1990, the two Germanys and the Big Four powers agreed to pursue German unity.
Also in 1990, James "Buster" Douglas became the undisputed world heavyweight titleist when his controversial knockout victory over Mike Tyson two days earlier was recognized by two holdout sanctioning bodies.
In 1991, Iraq claimed hundreds of civilians were killed when U.S. bombs hit a building in Baghdad; the United States said the building was a heavily fortified military command center.
Also in 1991, 36 people were killed when an Ash Wednesday mass at a Mexican church turned ugly.
In 1992, the U.N. secretary-general said he would recommend sending a large U.N. peacekeeping force to Yugoslavia, despite a thinly veiled threat by Serbian rebel leaders that they may be attacked.
In 1993, three men were killed and another wounded in a shooting at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Fla.
In 1995, a war crimes tribunal in Geneva indicted 21 Serbs for crimes against humanity in the war in Bosnia. Only one was in custody.
In 1998, Cuba began releasing 299 political prisoners following an appeal by Pope John Paul II.
Also in 1998, Nigerian troops overthrew the military junta that had ruled Sierra Leon since ousting the democratically elected government in May 1997.
A thought for the day: it was Oscar Wilde who said, "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."