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Where is Santa Claus right now? Use NORAD’s live tracker to map its 2023 Christmas flight

This evening Santa makes his annual trip from the North Pole to deliver gifts to children around the world. And like every year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD, will have its official tracker following Santa’s journey for Christmas 2023.

NORAD, responsible for protecting the skies over the United States and Canada, was follow Santa every Christmas Eve for 68 years.

Here’s everything you need to know to follow Saint Nicholas on his travels this Christmas:

Where is Santa Claus right now?

Around 8:45 p.m. ET, NORAD reports that Santa has finished crossing South America and is heading towards the Labrador Sea towards Greenland. Previously, it had been followed across Asia, Africa, then Europe.

NORAD’s Santa Tracker is currently live and you can follow Santa’s progress on the map below. [Note: The map works better on mobile devices; if you don’t see it below you can click here to view it on NORAD’s website.]

You can also follow updates on NORAD’s Facebook, XInstagram and YouTube.

Operators will be available at 1-877-HI-NORAD starting at 6 a.m. ET on Christmas Eve for families who want to call to find out where Santa is.

Last year, NORAD and its volunteers responded to more than 73,000 calls on Christmas Eve, according to the Pentagon.

When will Santa Claus come to your house?

According to NORAD, it’s impossible to know because only Santa knows his route. But history suggests it only happens when the kids are asleep, so between 9 p.m. and midnight on December 24 is a good bet.

“If the children are still awake when Santa arrives, he moves to other houses. He comes back later, but only when the children are asleep!” NORAD said.

Faith Salie on the magic of Santa Claus


How does the Santa tracker work?

NORAD uses a combination of radar, satellites and fighter jets, he says, to closely monitor Santa’s progress.

Its radar system, called the North Warning System, monitors the North Pole every Christmas.

“As soon as our radar tells us Santa has taken off, we begin using the same satellites we use to provide aerial warning of possible missile launches targeting North America,” the website says NORAD Santa Tracker.

Satellites 22,300 miles above Earth with infrared sensors also help NORAD with tracking tasks.

“Rudolph’s nose gives off an infrared signature similar to that of a missile launch,” NORAD explains. “Satellites detect Rudolph’s bright red nose with no problem.”

Finally, NORAD says Canadian and American jet fighters welcome Santa and his reindeer and escort them through North American airspace.

“Even though Santa flies faster than any jet fighter (Santa slows down so we can escort him), all of these systems combined provide NORAD with a very good continuous picture of his location,” according to the NORAD.

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