Utah State Centennial Star - Dubhe
The star, Dubhe (Alpha Ursae Majoris), one of the seven bright stars composing the Big Dipper of the constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear), is designated as the state centennial star (House Bill 140, 1996, Utah Code). Dubhe differs from other stars in the Big Dipper by having an orange hue.
According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, January 22,1996, the star Dubhe (pronounced dŭb'ē, rhymes with tubby) in the Big Dipper was named the state centennial star because the light emitted from the star takes 100 years to reach us and, of course, 1996 was Utah's Centennial. Dubhe's 100 year light distance means it is 588 trillion miles from Earth. Another interesting note: Polaris, the brightest star in Ursa Minor (Little Dipper) can be easiest found by using Merak and Dubhe in Ursa Major as pointers.
When asked if the state really needed a state star and astronomical symbol, Rep. Marda Dillree, R-Farmington, sponsor of the bill, suggested that perhaps not, but Utah has a diverse population with a multitude of interests.
The Beehive Cluster is the official state centennial astrological symbol.
Learn more about Dubhe and Ursa Major
- The History of the Star: Dubhe (Constellations of Words)
- Ursa Major (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space)
- Ursa Major Constellation Chart (International Astronomical Union)
- Ursa Major: The Great Bear (Constellations of Words)
Learn more about Astronomy
- NASA's Imagine the Universe! - Ages 14 & Up (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
- StarChild: A Learning Center for Young Astronomers (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)