Where's SANTA? Norad Knows!
Norad has been successfully tracking Santa for 52 years now – with 2008 being 53.
First, it may help to know what NORAD stands for. NORAD is an abbreviation for the North American Air Defense Command, which was known as CONAD, or the Continental Air Defense Command, until the late 1950s. In 1958, the United States and Canada joined forces to form NORAD in order to warn and defend the continent more effectively in the case of an attack. The North American Air Defense Command watches the airways for intrusions such as planes or missiles and warns if any unrecognized object should enter protected airways and more recently, waterways as well.
So, why does such an important entity like NORAD track Santa Claus? That also started back in the 1950s and came about because of a simple mistake. In 1955, a Sears store, at the time known as Sears Roebuck and Company, placed Christmas advertising that included a phone number where children could call and reach Santa Claus. The only problem was that the phone number was printed incorrectly.
As excited children began dialing on Christmas Eve, they reached CONAD, instead of Santa. The Colonel in charge recognized what had occurred, and in an act of kindness, had his team check the radar to see where Santa might be. Children were told of his speculated location when they called.
Tracking Santa became a Christmas Eve custom after that. When CONAD became NORAD, the custom was passed along and is still in practice today. Information about Santa is now available in six different languages and children and their families can track Santa by calling or by viewing the NORAD website. The NORAD site also has a countdown that shows exactly how long it will be until Santa leaves the North Pole which includes the days, the hours, the minutes, and even the seconds. Children can learn the very second Santa begins his journey, and track his progress toward their locations.
Track Santa in 3D
With the help of Google Earth (a Free download) this year folks can track Santa in 3D. To do so, you will need two things:
1: The Google Earth application
2: The NORAD Tracks Santa file for Google Earth
To get ready ahead of time, go to the link below and click on the green button to download the Google Earth application. http://www.noradsanta.org/en/track3d.html
Then, return to this linked page on Dec. 24th and click on the red button that will appear in the middle of the page to download the special Santa Tracking file. Once you’ve downloaded both the application and the special file, you’ll be able to track Santa in Google Earth!
For those “Grinchly’ folks who might be concerned about this use of taxpayer’s dollars, remember that much of this effort is simply an exercise in creativity and imagination. In addition, NORAD states that people from both the United States and Canada work voluntarily to help track Santa Claus. If you would like to learn more about this Christmas Eve tradition, or if you would like to follow Santa’s progress, please visit the NORAD website for more information.
Last year between Nov. 17 and Dec. 31, 2007 the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site, www.noradsanta.org, received 907,958,865 hits from 210 countries and territories around the world.
NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center
The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center (NTSOC) opens on December 24th at 6:00am EST (5:00am CST, 4:00am MST, and 3:00am PST) until 5:00am EST (4:00am CST, 3:00am MST, and 2:00am PST) on December 25, Christmas Day!
Located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NTSOC receives up-to-the-minute status reports from our radar, satellites, and Santa cams on Christmas Eve. They are standing by to update you on Santa’s current location!
Call or Email the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center for Santa’s current location!
Call: 1 (877) HI NORAD (1 877 446-6723)
From Colorado Springs or overseas: 1 (719) 556-5211 (Cost may be incurred)
Hearing Impaired should contact their service provider.
Here’s the link to Norad and all the tracking info:
From the entire ACTSmart team, Merry Christmas to all and to Santa, good flight!