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Santa Tracker 2016, Countdown Has Started: NORAD

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The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) takes a break from its usual duties every Christmas Eve to help children follow Santa live.

NORAD is responsible for defending US airspace, but for the last sixty years has embraced a tradition of following the bearded sky wizard around the world.

He will travel an estimated 510,000,000 kilometers over the course of one night – moving at a speed of 10,703,437.5km/hr. That works out at roughly 1,800 miles per second, and some very tired reindeer.

How many houses does Father Christmas visit?

According to the tracker, Santa will call in on 390,000 homes every minute during his Christmas Eve rush.

If he stops to scoff down a mince pie at each one, he will have consumed around 71,764,000,000 in the course of one night.

When can I start tracking him?

Although the NORAD tracker goes live on the first day of December, you won’t actually be able to follow the jolly fellow until the night before Christmas.

It will start tracking him from 8pm on December 24.

How did the tradition start?

NORAD began tracking Santa when a 1955 advert encouraged children to phone Santa – but gave the wrong number.

When he realised what had happened, Colonel Harry Shoup – who came to be known as the “Santa Colonel” – quickly told his staff to answer the calls with an update on Father Christmas’s current position.

It developed into a tradition where volunteers’ staff call centres on Christmas Eve and take around 70,000 phone calls each year from 200 countries.

However, the tracker has adapted with the times, becoming more advanced through the years.

And now it is available online in 3D each year alongside its own Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Writing to fans on Facebook, NORAD said: “Thank you for letting us be part of the magic Santa.

“We can’t wait to track you again this year and help the believers around the world follow your journey.”