Santa Trackers Follow Sleigh and Reindeer Trip Around the World from the North Pole
Each Christmas Eve, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center uses radar, satellites, Santa Cams, and jet fighters to track Santa Claus on his flight from the North Pole to bring gifts to children the world over.
photo credit: rick
NORAD’s radars track Santa Claus’ progress around the world on Christmas Eve. Using radar, satellites, and even jet fighters, NORAD can follow Santa’s progress and report where Santa and his reindeer-pulled sleigh are on their trek from the North Pole to bring Xmas gifts to children on the night of December 24.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) as Santa Tracker
NORAD has been tracking Santa Claus since 1951 after Sears had mistakenly used the telephone number of the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) – since 1958 known as NORAD – in an advertisement as the “hot line” to Santa Claus. When the first child called, CONAD decided not to scramble jets to shoot Santa down but rather gave the young caller Santa’s exact position. Ever since, each Christmas Eve, NORAD has been tracking Santa’s progress from the North Pole around the world.
Finding Santa with the NORAD Santa Tracker System
In order to find Santa, NORAD uses radar, satellites, Santa Cams, and jet fighter aircraft. A special Santa Tracker System is in place:
- Radar detects Santa’s departure from the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
- Satellites with infrared detectors able to zoom in on Rudolph’s red nose and follow Santa’s progress around the world.
- Santa Cams take snapshots and video of Santa Claus and his reindeer in action and are placed on NORAD’s website as soon as they become available.
- Jet fighters of the Canadian and US air forces welcome Santa to North America. Some of these fighters are equipped with additional Santa Cams.
The Special NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center
The special NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center,which follows Santa’s progress around the world is staffed by close to 600 volunteers. Pentagon staff keeps an eye out for unwelcome flying objects and missiles. The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center volunteers answer around 55,000 phone calls and 100,000 emails from around the world on tracking the progress of Santa around the world.
The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is multilingual and operates in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. From 2 a.m. Mountain Time on December 24, NORAD follows Santa at work. Norad gives a minute-by-minute update of Santa’s exact position so children around the world can be sure where Santa is and that he is still coming.