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Remote Sensing

NORAD begins annual Santa tracking

Satellites track infrared signal given off by Rudolph's nose.
24 December 2009

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has employed all of its high tech equipment to follow Father Christmas as he and the reindeer travel the globe delivering presents. Santa Claus is already airborne and begun delivering gifts, according to NORAD's map.

The NORAD Santa Tracker tradition dates back to 1955 when a Colorado Springs store ran an advertisement encouraging local children to call a special telephone hot line.

A printing error meant that the phone number for the Director of Operations at Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) was published instead, leading to the centre being inundated by calls from excited youngsters.

The head of the CONAD, which later became NORAD, instructed his staff to give the children updates on Santa's position and the tradition was born.

They now offer the service to children around the world via a Google Earth map, providing the information in seven languages including English, Spanish and Chinese.

NORAD claims they now employ radar and satellites to track the infrared signal given off by Rudolph's nose.

Santa is expected to conclude his trip somewhere in Hawaii.

You can follow Santa's progress at www.noradsanta.org.