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Dubhe, The Utah State Centennial Star

Ursa Major

The star, Dubhe, one of the seven bright stars composing the Big Dipper of the constellation Ursa major, is designated as the state centennial star. (63-13-11.10 of the Utah Code)

According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, January 22,1996, the star Dubhe (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.

Dubhe differs from other stars in the Big Dipper by having an orange hue.


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