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May 11, 2017

Wyoming wants to be THE destination for the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. in almost 40 years.

The Cowboy State is gearing up to host as many as 350,000 astronomy enthusiasts on Aug. 21, 2017, when it hopes to have ideal viewing conditions (as long as the day is not cloudy).

In Casper, Riverton and Jackson, Wyoming, totality — when the sun is completely obscured by the moon and day becomes night — will last about 2 minutes and 25 seconds, according to Xavier Jubier, who maintains a detailed map of the eclipse path.

But Wyoming is going to get a run for its tourism revenue: Kentucky will have the longest totality, at about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. And if nature is important to you for experiencing the eclipse, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will see totality for about 2 minutes and 39 seconds, according to Jubier's calculations.

Those who are contemplating a trip to Wyoming in August should make up their minds soon. Hotels are already selling out for the occasion.

Those who do manage to snag a reservation can enjoy eclipse-themed activities taking place at resorts and hotels across the state.

Related: 25 perfect spots for watching the Total Solar Eclipse

The Wind River Hotel and Casino in Riverton will host a four-day Native American Arapaho eclipse ceremony, where archers will “fire arrows at the moon” to move it out of the way of the sun. The hotel also says that its high altitude and dry climate should provide clear morning skies for viewing the eclipse.

In Jackson, visitors can either camp out in the Grand Teton National Park (it’s best to make a reservation) or go for a more luxe option nearby. The rooftop lounge at Teton Mountain Lounge will host an astrology chat on the night of the eclipse. And the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole will host a private viewing party with their astronomy team.

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