The moon is new. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars and Saturn. The evening stars Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include American statesman Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, in 1757; Ezra Cornell, founder of Western Union Telegraph company and Cornell University, in 1807; John MacDonald, first prime minister of Canada, in 1815; psychologist and philosopher William James in 1842; feminist lawyer Alice Paul in 1885; South African novelist Alan Paton ("Cry, the Beloved Country") in 1903; automobile designer Carroll Shelby in 1923; actors Rod Taylor in 1930 (age 83); Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 1934 (age 79); musician Clarence Clemons in 1942; singers Naomi Judd in 1946 (age 67) and Mary J. Blige in 1971 (age 42); actor Amanda Peet in 1972 (age 41); Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Tracy Caulkins in 1963 (age 50).
On this date in history:
In 1785, the Continental Congress convened in New York City.
In 1787, William Herschel discovered two moons of Uranus. They are named Titania and Oberon.
In 1861, Alabama seceded from the United States.
In 1935, U.S. aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly from Hawaii to California.
In 1949, Los Angles noted its first recorded snowfall.
In 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report saying smoking cigarettes is a definite "health hazard."
In 1972, East Pakistan is renamed Bangladesh.
In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a $10 million award to the family of Oklahoma nuclear worker Karen Silkwood, who died in 1974.
In 1990, martial law, imposed during the June 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement, was lifted in Beijing.
In 1996, the Japanese Diet elected Ryutaro Hashimoto, head of the Liberal Democratic Party, as prime minister.
In 2001, a yearlong investigation by the U.S. Army concluded that U.S. soldiers killed unarmed South Korean civilians in July 1950 during the Korean War.
In 2002, Ford announced it planned to lay off 35,000 employees, drop four car models and close four plants.
In 2003, a few days before leaving office, Illinois Gov. George Ryan commuted the death sentences of 171 inmates to life in prison.
In 2005, NASA scientists studying the tsunami-inducing Indonesia earthquake of Dec. 26 calculated it slightly changed Earth's shape and shifted the poles about 1 inch.
In 2006, India reported as many as 172 deaths blamed on a cold wave.
In 2007, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed to a 60-day cease-fire in the war-torn Darfur region but opposed a U.N. presence in the African country.
In 2009, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement with the European Union that led to resumption of natural gas deliveries, cut off in a back payment dispute.
In 2010, 78 percent of U.S. air travelers say they support using full body airport scanners, a Gallup poll indicated.
In 2011, a downpour of 10 inches of rain in Brazil in a 24-hour period triggered floods and mudslides that killed more than 900 people and left an estimated 25,000 others homeless. Severe weather ranging from flooding to snow and ice hit many other areas hard, including much of the United States and Australia's Brisbane area.
In 2012, Iran blamed the United States and Israel for the bombing death of nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, the fourth such attack in two months. The White House denied responsibility.
A thought for the day: William James said, "There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it."