Today is Wednesday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2017 with 326 to follow.
The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury. Evening stars are Neptune, Venus, Mars and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Civil War-era U.S. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in 1820; pioneer science fiction writer Jules Verne in 1828; Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, who devised the periodic table, in 1834; actor Charles Ruggles in 1886; actor Edith Evans in 1888; film director King Vidor in 1894; Chester Carlson, inventor of the Xerox copying process, in 1906; actor Lana Turner in 1921; actor Audrey Meadows in 1922; actor Jack Lemmon in 1925; actor Alejandro Rey in 1930 ; actor James Dean in 1931; Oscar-winning composer/conductor John Williams in 1932 (age 85); television journalist Ted Koppel in 1940 (age 77); actor Nick Nolte in 1941 (age 76); folk singer Tom Rush in 1941 (age 76); comedian Robert Klein in 1942 (age 75); singer Ron Tyson (The Temptations) in 1948 (age 69); actor Brooke Adams in 1949 (age 68); actor Mary Steenburgen in 1953 (age 64); author John Grisham in 1955 (age 62); Philippines President Benigno Aquino III in 1960 (age 57); actor Gary Coleman in 1968; actor Seth Green in 1974 (age 43); surfer Bethany Hamilton in 1990 (age 27).
On this date in history:
In 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded, charged with conspiring to kill England's Queen Elizabeth I.
In 1692, a doctor in Massachusetts Bay Colony said two village girls were possibly bewitched, a charge that set off the Salem witch trials.
In 1693, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., was granted a charter by Britain's King William III.
In 1725, Peter the Great, emperor of Russia, died and was succeeded by his wife, Catherine.
In 1915, D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, a landmark in the history of cinema and the first American full-length motion picture, opened in Los Angeles and was immediately a smash hit though many found its treatment of race offensive.
In 1933, two British Royal Air Force pilots landed at Walvis Bay, 800 miles north of Cape Town, South Africa, setting a non-stop flight record after traveling 5,175 miles from England.
In 1940, Nazis shot every 10th person in two Polish villages near Warsaw in reprisal for the deaths of two German soldiers.
In 1960, the first plaques installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame honored Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, Preston Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedgwick Ernest Torrence and Joanne Woodward.
In 1968, Robert Kennedy, attacked the Johnson Administration's Vietnam policies, saying: "it is time for the truth -- time to drop the mask of official illusion," which he said had been shattered by Communist attacks in Saigon and cities and towns all across South Vietnam.
In 1974, three U.S. Skylab astronauts ended an 84-day orbital flight.
In 2002, the Olympic Winter Games opened in Salt Lake City.
In 2007, Anna Nicole Smith, a 39-year-old actor, model and tabloid fixture, was found dead in a Hollywood, Fla., hotel. Her death was attributed to accidental sedative overdose.
In 2013, Jeffrey Delisle, a junior Canadian naval officer who pleaded guilty to selling military secrets to Russia, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would soon treat people in same-sex marriages the same as heterosexual couples in court cases, such as jointly filing for bankruptcy and declining to testify against a spouse.
A thought for the day: "We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear." -- Nelson Mandela