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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.(House Bill 140, 1996) (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.
The name Dubhe derives from the Arabic phrase Thahr al Dubb al Akbar meaning "The Back of the Greater Bear". Dubhe is an orange K0IIIa giant. The spectral type implies an effective temperature of 4500 K, a mass 4 times that of the sun and 16 times the diameter. Dubhe differs from other stars in the Big Dipper by having an orange hue.
The law designating Dubhe, one of the seven bright stars composing the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major as the official Utah state centennial star is found in the Utah Statutes, Title 63, Chapter 13, Section 63-13-5.5 (4).
TITLE 63. State Affairs in General.
CHAPTER 13. Miscellaneous Provisions.
SECTION 63-13-5.5. State Symbols.
63-13-5.5. State symbols.
(1) Utah's state animal is the elk.
(2) Utah's state bird is the sea gull.
(3) Utah's state centennial astronomical symbol is the Beehive Cluster located in the constellation of Cancer the Crab.
(4) Utah's state centennial star is Dubhe, one of the seven bright stars composing the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major.
(5) Utah's state centennial tartan, which honors the first Scots known to have been in Utah and those Utahns of Scottish heritage, shall have a pattern or repeating-half-sett of white-2, blue-6, red-6, blue-4, red-6, green-18, red-6, and white-4 to represent the tartan worn anciently by the Logan and Skene clans, with the addition of a white stripe.
(6) Utah's state cooking pot is the dutch oven.
(7) Utah's state emblem is the beehive.
(8) Utah's state fish is the Bonneville cutthroat trout.
(9) Utah's state flower is the sego lily.
(10) Utah's state folk dance is the square dance, the folk dance that is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, and heritage dances.
(11) Utah's state fossil is the Allosaurus.
(12) Utah's state fruit is the cherry.
(13) Utah's state vegetable is the Spanish sweet onion.
(14) Utah's historic state vegetable is the sugar beet.
(15) Utah's state gem is topaz, as is prominently found in the Thomas Mountain Range in Juab County, Utah.
(16) Utah's state grass is Indian rice grass.
(17) Utah's state hymn is "Utah We Love Thee" by Evan Stephens.
(18) Utah's state insect is the honeybee.
(19) Utah's state mineral is copper.
(20) Utah's state motto is "Industry."
(21) Utah's state railroad museum is Ogden Union Station.
(22) Utah's state rock is coal.
(23) Utah's state song is "Utah This is the Place" by Sam and Gary Francis.
(24) Utah's state tree is the blue spruce.