Track Santa's annual flight online

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When Christmas Eve comes, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), will track Santa Claus during his annual flight.

NORAD is responsible for handling the air defense of the North America continent. But it has also been tracking Santa's movements on Christmas Eve for the past 50 years.

NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa -- radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft.

The satellites have infrared sensors, meaning they can see heat. Rudolph's nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a missile launch. Thus, the satellites can detect Rudolph's bright red nose with practically no problem.

The tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955, when a local Sears, Roebuck and Co. store ran a newspaper ad urging children to make a phone call on Christmas Eve and talk to Santa Claus. As fate would have it, the phone number was misprinted and, instead of reaching Santa, youngsters found themselves talking with Air Force Col. Harry Shoup of the Continental Air Defense Command at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado.

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