Utah State Astronomical Symbol: Beehive Cluster

The state astronomical symbol is the Beehive Cluster (also known as Messier 44, M44, NGC 2632, Cr 189, or Praesepe) located in the constellation of Cancer (Utah Code, 63G-1-601. State symbols).

Look at the upper right corner of the map and locate Cancer and just below is M44.

The Salt Lake Tribune in their January 22, 1996 article, stated that Lawmakers passed House Bill 140 which designated a dim group of stars known as the Beehive Cluster as Utah's state astronomical symbol. A fact sheet about the bill gave the following reasoning for this designation. "This symbol, composed of a hive of stars, transposes our beehive symbol to a new and grand level as we enter our second century as a group of people living in a place where we can still see, with our own eyes, the beautiful and dim features of the starry universe".

M44 is located in the middle of the constellation Cancer, the Crab. It is one of the most prominent clusters, visible to the naked eye, but better viewed with binoculars and telescopes reveal hundreds of stars.