With just hours to go until the big day, excited children can track the exact movements of Father Christmas using the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Google’s Santa trackers. He is travelling an estimated 510,000,000km on Christmas Eve, approximately 1,800 miles per second. Christmas Eve is the busiest time for Father Christmas as he needs to visit 390,000 homes per minute, or 6,234 per second.
Father Christmas will visit more than 90 million on Christmas Eve.
The exact journey of Santa sees him starting in the South Pacific before he heads west to Australia and New Zealand.
After that, he will visit Asia, Africa, and Western Europe, finishing with Canada, the US, Mexico and South America.
NORAD’s radar system is installed in more than 47 locations across Canada and Alaska.
The organisation uses its satellite infrared detectors to spot Ruldoph’s bright nose and keep track of the big journey.
The tradition was started by NORAD, which is usually response for defending airspace, in 1955.
A local advertisement encouraged children to phone Father Christmas but misprinted the number for children to dial would they want to reach Santa.
The number instead put them through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations ‘hotline’.
Colonel Harry Shoup – who became known as ‘Santa Colonel’ – answered the call and told his staff to answer the calls with an update on Father Christmas’s current position.
NORAD says: “Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first ‘Santa’ call and had his staff check radar data to see if there was any indication of Santa making his way south from the North Pole.
“Indeed there were signs of Santa, and children who called in given an update on Santa’s position.
“Thus, the tradition was born.”
Google is also rolling out its Santa Tracker once again this year, offering children a very similar experience.
Google has been operating their tracker for the past 13 years and their ‘Santa village’ opens on December 1.
The tracker goes live on Christmas Eve and allows children to track Santa and follow his progress with help from Google Maps.
The NORAD tracker is available on Apple, Android and Windows phone and online for free.
The Google tracker is available online, Android app and Android TV but there is no iOS app for Google’s Santa Tracker.