To Dr. Wilkie's  question about power supply for Santa's workshop, I offer a few ideas--

I have to think methane produced from reindeer wastes is a major energy source for Santa, powering the sleigh and maybe explaining Rudolph's glowing nose.  Perhaps the elves also have created a perpetual energy machine?  Perhaps the elves with Santa's leadership can harness all the energies from nature.

From Teilhard de Chardin-- "Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will discover fire."  (Cited on p. 45 in "The Dorothy Day Book,"  Quigley and Garvey, edit., 1982, Templegate Publishers.)

More information about efforts to gather data on Santa's sleigh is available--
(the St. Petersburg Times online had a link to the NORAD site on Christmas Eve).
I found this article by googling NORAD--
Posted on Fri, Dec. 22, 2006 on (from S. Carolina)

Q&A with Maj. Stacia Reddish, NORAD Santa tracker (— Robin Cowie Nalepa)
“Classification: UNCLASSIFIED” headed the e-mail sent from Maj. Stacia Reddish, project officer for NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), which tracks Santa Claus’s route around the world on Christmas Eve. Tracking Santa isn’t Reddish’s full-time job, she said, but it is the most fun. Reddish answered questions about the yearly tracking of the jolly elf from her post at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

How did Santa tracking begin? 

On Dec. 24, 1955, a call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. It was from a child in Colorado Springs following directions from a department store advertisement printed in the local newspaper. The ad said, “Hey, kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” However, the number was printed incorrectly in the advertisement and rang into the CONAD operations center. Col. Harry Shoup received numerous calls that night and rather than hanging up, he had his operators find the location of Santa Claus and reported it to every child who phoned that night.

How does NORAD track Santa’s flight? 

It all starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole every Christmas Eve.

The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America. The satellites have infrared sensors, meaning they can see heat. The satellites detect Rudolph’s bright red nose with no problem.

The third system we use is the SantaCam. NORAD only uses these cameras once a year on Christmas Eve. We turn the cameras on about one hour before Santa enters a country, then switch them off after we capture images of him and the reindeer. We download the images onto our Web site for people around the world to see.

The last system we use is the NORAD jet fighter. While in the U.S., American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15 or F16 get the thrill of flying with Santa and the famous reindeer. Even though Santa flies faster than any jet fighter — Santa actually slows down for us to escort him — all of these systems together provide NORAD with a very good continuous picture of his whereabouts.

Does Santa ever try to elude radar?

No, Santa obviously enjoys being tracked by NORAD. In fact, his elf staff coordinates with NORAD to ensure all systems are go prior to Christmas Eve.

What track does Santa generally take? 

It is completely unpredictable. His travel plans are not divulged in advance. That is why we track him.

At what speed does he usually travel? 

That is also unpredictable; however, he travels so fast it can not be recorded.

Where can we go to watch Santa’s progress? 

Go onto the site,, beginning at 0200 Mountain Standard Time on Christmas Eve (2 a.m. Dec. 24).

Kathleen Walston Pagan, AICP, Senior Planner
Alachua County Dept. of Growth Management
10-SW 2nd Ave., 3rd Floor
Gainesville, FL 32601-6294

(352) 374-5249, Ext. 2225   Phone
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