The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include feminist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott in 1793; British Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1883; J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, in 1892; actor Ray Milland in 1908; entertainer Victor Borge in 1909; Maxine Andrews of the Andrews Sisters trio in 1918; actors Robert Loggia in 1930 (age 76) and Dabney Coleman in 1932 (age 74); Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull in 1939 (age 67); actress Victoria Principal in 1950 (age 56); actor/director Mel Gibson in 1956 (age 50); and actress Danice McKellar ("The Wonder Years") in 1975 (age 31).
On this date in history:
In 1777, the Continental Army commanded by Gen. George Washington defeated the British at Princeton, N.J.
In 1938, the first March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.
In 1939, Gene Cox, 13, became the first female congressional page.
In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state of the Union.
In 1961, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba after Fidel Castro announced he was a communist.
In 1990, deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega left his refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City and surrendered to U.S. troops. He was whisked to Florida to face narcotics trafficking charges.
In 1991, AIDS was removed from the list of diseases that would automatically bar an infected person from entering the United States.
In 2000, peace talks between Israeli and Syrian leaders opened in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
In 2001, the 107th Congress convened for the first time with the Senate equally divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans had a 10-member advantage in the House.
Also in 2001, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percent to stem an economic slowdown.
In 2004, a Flash Airline Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheik in Egypt, killing 148 people.
Also in 2004, a NASA robotic explorer called Spirit touched down on Mars, sending a signal home to California that it survived the descent through the Martian atmosphere. A second rover was due to land three weeks later.
In 2005, Indonesia's Ministry of Health announced another 14,000 deaths, bringing the total of lives lost in Asia's earthquake and tsunami disaster to 155,000.
A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau said, "Be true to your work, your word and your friend."