Since 1955 NORAD, the U.S.-Canadian organization responsible for aerospace and maritime defense of the U.S. and Canada, has been tracking Santa’s journey from his home on the North Pole around the world. It’s no joke. You can actually follow Santa and his nine reindeer in real time, beginning at 6 a.m. EST! For the first time in fifty years, though, NORAD has teamed up with Google (namely, the GoogleEarth program) to provide families with exclusive access to Santa’s whereabouts on this special day.
According to NORAD’s Santa Tracking site, Mr. Claus is detected by a combination of radar, satellite, Santa cameras, and fighter jets. Rudolph’s extra special infrared nose is particularly helpful as a sensor for the satellites, while the Santa cams actually capture real footage of Santa and his reindeer on their sometimes treacherous journey around the globe. The F-15 and F-16 jets provide necessary protection should Santa get in trouble in international airspace.
There are plenty of fun games and activities to play online on the Kids’ Countdown page. To track Santa’s skyfleet around the world in 3-D, you’ll need to download a special version of GoogleEarth here. Catch some exclusive video footage of Santa’s journey here. The video page is only available on Christmas Eve!