Only a few short weeks until our favorite celebrity, Santa Claus, comes to town, and for years the North American Aerospace Defense Command has been helping anxious kids and curious adults track jolly St. Nick as he delivers presents to all the good boys and girls of the world.
NORAD has been helping families track the whereabouts of Santa for years, using a multi-faceted approach. First, they use the NORAD radar system called the “North Warning System.” This is what they use to find out the precise moment Santa leaves the North Pole.
Once he takes off, the use satellites “positioned in geo-synchronous orbit at 22,300 miles from the Earth’s surface [that] are equipped with infrared sensors, which enable them to detect heat.” If you haven’t guessed, Rudolph’s nose helps make this method particularly useful.
Next come the Santa cams, which are high-tech digital cameras that are positioned all over the world and only used once a year, for this precise purpose. Lastly, Canadian fighter jets intercept Santa as he is making his way south, and American NORAD pilots fly alongside Santa as he enters the U.S.
The actual 3D Santa tracking will be available on the NORAD Tracks Santa site starting Christmas Eve. You can also check the NORAD site for the Santa countdown to track Santa and a Kids’ Countdown Village, where they offer a new holiday game every day until December 24th.