The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury, Saturn and Venus.
Those born on this date were under the sign of Capricorn. They include Roman philosopher Cicero in B.C. 106; feminist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott in 1793; Father Damien, a missionary to lepers in Hawaii, in 1840; British Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1883; J.R.R. Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings," in 1892; actor Ray Milland in 1905; entertainer Victor Borge in 1909; Maxene Andrews, of the Andrews Sisters singing trio, in 1916; football Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram in 1923; Beatles record producer George Martin in 1926 (age 85); Italian film director Sergio Leone in 1929; actors Robert Loggia in 1930 (age 81) and Dabney Coleman in 1932 (age 79); hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull in 1939 (age 72); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Stephen Stills in 1945 (age 66) and John Paul Jones in 1946 (age 65); German racing champion Michael Schumacher in 1969 (age 42); actor Victoria Principal in 1950 (age 61) and actor/director Mel Gibson in 1956 (age 55); actor Danica McKellar in 1975 (age 36); and pro football quarterback Eli Manning in 1981 (age 30).
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 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 1967, Jack Ruby, who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer in Dallas.
In 1969, police at Newark, N.J., confiscated a shipment of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono albums "Two Virgins" because the cover photo, featuring full frontal nudity, violated pornography laws.
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 1993, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the START II treaty reducing strategic nuclear arsenals by two-thirds
In 2001, the 107th U.S. 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 of Representatives.
In 2003, Democrats John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton announced runs for their party's 2004 presidential nomination.
In 2004, a Flash Airline Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff in Egypt, killing 148 people.
Also in 2004, a NASA robotic explorer called Spirit touched down on Mars, sending a signal to California that it survived the descent through the Martian atmosphere.
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.
In 2006, Jack Abramoff, a powerful Washington lobbyist, agreed to plead guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion charges and to testify against politicians and former colleagues.
Also in 2006, Iran advised the International Atomic Energy Agency it planned to restart work on what it called its "peaceful nuclear energy program."
In 2008, the Iowa caucuses got the U.S. presidential nomination campaign under way at its earliest date with Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee the initial winners.
In 2009, after more than a week of intense airstrikes, Israeli troops crossed the border into Gaza, launching a ground assault against the militant Palestinian group Hamas. More than 430 Palestinians and four Israelis were reported killed at that point.
In 2010, the U.S. government announced new stricter security screening procedures for airline passengers from certain countries, among them Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Nigeria, as part of a crackdown following the botched Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound flight and including random patdowns and body scanning.
A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau said, "Be true to your work, your word and your friend."