TORONTO – It may be the night before Christmas, but Santa is already hard at work delivering toys to girls and boys (unless they’re naughty) on the other side of the world.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) – a Canadian-U.S. joint operation that monitors airspace in North America – is tracking Santa’s journey around the world and live tweeting the entire adventure.
NORAD will be live-tweeting Santa’s journey throughout the day and civilians can also follow along on NORAD’s live map on its website.
As of 3:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, Santa had already made stops in Australia, India, Russia, the island of Funafuti, Tuvalu and had been spotted flying over Suva, Fiji.
Santa then made stops in Israel, Palestine and Egypt before traveling on to South Sudan.
The command centre’s Defense Support Program satellites use an infrared sensor to detect heat signatures from Rudolph’s nose to provide more accurate tracking of the sleigh.
NORAD’s Santa Tracker has been operating since 1955, after an advertisement misprinted the telephone number for kids to call Santa. Instead of reaching the jolly man himself, kids started calling the Continental Air Defense Command commander-in-chief who began updating the kids on Santa’s geographic location.
Last year the NORAD website attracted more than 19.5 million unique visitors in December, the Facebook page drew 1.45 million “likes” and the Twitter feed had 146,000 followers. Volunteers took 117,000 phone calls for kids asking about Santa’s whereabouts and answered 9,600 emails.
Track Santa’s journey at home
Twitter users can follow along using the hashtag #NORAD, or visit NORAD’s website for more interactive updates.
Google also has a Santa tracker that maps the sleigh’s journey on an interactive map.
And when you put out some milk and cookies for Santa tonight, make sure to leave Rudolph and the other reindeer some carrot stick – they are bound to be tired by the time they get to Canada.