Ever wondered exactly what Santa gets up to on Christmas Eve night?
Review highlights of his efforts this year, here:
NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) is a bi-national U.S./Canadian military organization responsible for aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning in the defense of North America.
24 hours a day, 365 days a year, NORAD provides warning of impending missile and air attacks, safeguards the air sovereignty of North America and maintains airborne forces for defense against attack.
However, on December 24th each year, NORAD has one additional mission - tracking Santa around the world!
For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight.
The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location and a tradition was born.
NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets.
Tracking Santa starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system consists of 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America. On December 24th, NORAD monitors the radar systems continuously for indications that Santa Claus has left the North Pole.
The moment that radar indicates Santa has lifted off, Satellites positioned in geo-synchronous orbit at 22,300 miles from the Earth’s surface are equipped with infrared sensors, which enable them to detect heat. Amazingly, Rudolph’s bright red nose gives off an infrared signature, which allows our satellites to detect Rudolph and Santa.
The third tracking system is the Santa Cam network. Santa Cams are ultra-cool, high-tech, high-speed digital cameras that are pre-positioned at many locations around the world. NORAD only uses these cameras once a year. The cameras capture images and videos of Santa and his reindeer as they make their journey around the world.
The fourth system is made up of fighter jets. Canadian NORAD fighter pilots flying the CF-18 intercept and welcome Santa to North America. In the United States, American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15 or the F-16 get the thrill of flying alongside Santa and his famous reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, of course, Rudolph.
NORAD has also collected additional, useful information about Santa: When will Santa arrive at my house?
NORAD tracks Santa, but only Santa knows his route, which means we cannot predict where and when he will arrive at your house. We do, however, know from history that it appears he arrives only when children are asleep! In most countries, it seems Santa arrives between 9:00 p.m. and midnight on December 24th. If children are still awake when Santa arrives, he moves on to other houses. He returns later … but only when the children are asleep. What route does Santa travel?
Santa usually starts at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travels west. So, historically, Santa visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, he shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. But keep in mind, Santa’s route can be affected by weather, so it’s really unpredictable. NORAD coordinates with Santa’s Elf launch staff to confirm his launch time, but from that point on, Santa calls the shots.
We just track him! Does Santa visit everyone (i.e. Afghanistan, Israel, non-Christian countries)?
Indeed! Santa visits all homes where children who believe in him live. How can Santa travel the world within 24 hours?
NORAD intelligence reports indicate that Santa does not experience time the way we do. His trip seems to take 24 hours to us, but to Santa it might last days, weeks or even months. Santa would not want to rush the important job of delivering presents to children and spreading joy to everyone, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions within his own time-space continuum. Is there a Santa Claus?
Mountains of historical data and over 50 years of NORAD tracking information leads us to believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world. How old is Santa?
It’s hard to know for sure, but NORAD intelligence indicates Santa is AT LEAST 16 centuries old. What does Santa look like?
Based on flight profile data gathered from over 50 years of NORAD’s radar and satellite tracking, NORAD concludes that Santa probably stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 260 pounds (before cookies). Based on fighter-aircraft photos, we know he has a generous girth (belly), rosy cheeks from sleigh riding in cold weather, and a flowing white beard. How does Santa get down chimneys?
Although NORAD has different hypotheses and theories as to how Santa actually gets down the chimneys, we don’t have definitive information to explain the magical phenomenon. Does NORAD have any statistics on Santa’s sleigh?
NORAD can confirm that Santa’s sleigh is a versatile, all weather, multi-purpose, vertical short-take-off and landing vehicle. It is capable of travelling vast distances without refuelling and is deployed, as far as we know, only on December 24th (and sometimes briefly for a test flight about a month before Christmas). Sleigh Technical Data
Designer & Builder
K. Kringle & Elves, Inc.
Probable First Flight
Dec. 24, 343 A.D.
75 cc (candy canes) / 150 lp (lollipops)
40 cc / 80 lp
55 cc / 110 lp
Note: Length, width and height are without reindeer
Weight at takeoff
75,000 gd (gumdrops)
Passenger weight at takeoff
Santa Claus 260 pounds
Weight of gifts at takeoff
Weight at landing
80,000 gd (ice & snow accumulation)
Passenger weight at landing
Nine (9) rp (reindeer power)
Antlers (purely defensive)
Hay, oats and carrots (for reindeer)
One “T” (Twinkle of an eye)
Faster than starlight
Where is Santa right now?
Santa is at the North Pole, where he lives with Mrs. Claus and the elves who make toys and take care of the reindeer year round! Each year on December 24th, Santa and his reindeer launch from the North Pole very early in the morning for their famous trip around the world. The minute they launch, NORAD starts to track him! Come back to this website on December 24th and you can track Santa along with NORAD. I would rather talk to someone at NORAD to find out where Santa is located. Is there a number I can call? Yes! The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is fully operational beginning at 2:30a.m. MST on December 24th. You can call 877 HI-NORAD (877 446-6723) to talk directly to a NORAD staff member who will be able to tell you Santa’s exact location!
For international callers, phone +1 (719) 556-5211. Can I send an email to NORAD to find out where Santa is located?
Yes! On December 24th, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A NORAD staff member will give you Santa’s last known location in a return email. Has Santa ever crashed into anything when he was flying around the world?
Santa has been flying for centuries without hitting anything. He must be a great pilot!
Posted 11:37 AM, Tuesday, 28 December 2010, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.
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Tito Dutta @ Wednesday, 29 December 2010 at 4:42:00 PM NZDT, posted:
I had already learned about it! Thanks to Wendy Boswell's blog, which I read regularly. This article is also wonderful! :)
Anyway, in yesterday's (December 28th) Times Of India (which is India edition of Times Group), Kolkata (Calcutta) Edition, CT Supplementary, Page 2, column: SMS joke of the day a joke has been published, a joke has been published, though not completely relevant, still I want to share it here-
Dear Kids, There is no Santa. Those presents are from your parents! Love! Julian Assange! WikiLeaks