Each year on Dec. 24, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) uses its cutting-edge technologies to track Santa‘s movements as he works to deliver presents to children around the world.
By day, NORAD provides air security and aerospace warning services. However, during the holiday season, the joint Canadian-American organization keeps children of the world apprised with up-to-the-minute updates on Santa’s whereabouts.
NORAD says its command centre’s Defense Support Program satellites use an infrared sensor to detect heat signatures from Rudolph’s nose to provide accurate tracking of the sleigh.
According to organization’s website, it began tracking Santa after a young child accidentally called the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) in 1955, looking to check up on the jolly old man.
“The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, answered the phone and instructed his staff to check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole,” the website reads.
When NORAD was formed in 1958, it took over the tradition and has “dutifully reported Santa’s location on Dec. 24 to millions of children and families across the globe.”
According to NORAD, Santa usually starts his journey at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean, and heads west.
“So, historically, Santa visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia,” the website said.
Afterwards, he flies to Japan and over to Asia, before heading across to Africa.
“Then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America,” NORAD said.
Despite rising coronavirus cases, officials in Canada have deemed Santa to be an essential worker.
“We have declared him an essential worker, so that he is able to travel in Canada and make his deliveries as usual,” Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in a statement last week.
“Santa told me how grateful he is that children are following public health practices and I agree,” she said.
Those interested in tracking Santa Claus as he delivers gifts around the globe can do so by visiting NORAD’s Santa Tracker website, the official Facebook and Twitter pages, or via NORAD’s official Santa Tracker app, available for Apple, Android and Windows devices.