Weekly roundup of facts, figures and forecasts.

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How many shares of Microsoft stock did Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer sell on the company’s first day of public trading?

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Microsoft went public with an initial offer of 3.1 million shares at $21 per share 19 years ago this week on March 13, 1986. Chairman Bill Gates sold 80,000 shares at that price for a total of $1.68 million, leaving him with a hefty 11,142,000 shares. Then-Vice President Steve Ballmer (now CEO) sold only 30,000 shares that day, reaping $630,000 from the sale and keeping 1,680,001 shares. By the time the closing bell rang on Wall Street that day, 3.58 million shares had changed hands, and the share price was $27.75.

Look! Up in the sky …

If the clear weather holds over the next few days, you might want to peek outside about 30 to 45 minutes after sunset to see if you can catch a glimpse of Mercury before it disappears from view again until June. Look westward directly above the sunset point. Mercury will be the only heavenly body hanging low in the growing twilight. Tonight’s sunset is at 6:16 p.m., and Mercury sets at 7:54 p.m. Over the next several days the time between sunset and Mercury-set will get shorter and shorter so that by next Tuesday or Wednesday, the solar system’s smallest planet will no longer be visible in the early twilight.

By the numbers

The Renton city water system is made up of 291 miles of pipe, 10 wells, nine reservoirs, one spring, 18 pump stations and two water-treatment facilities. All of this serves 15,181 metered connections. Compiled by Nyssa Rogers: 206-515-5625 or east@seattletimes.com.

Eastside Almanac appears on Wednesdays in the Eastside edition of The Seattle Times. This week’s sources include 2005 Renton Community Calendar, 2005 Old Farmer’s Almanac by Robert Thomas and aa.usno.navy.mil