The grandaddy of Santa Trackers is done by the fine folks at Norad - great job by our man and women in uniform. They chimed in on my christmas blog (entry #432 for christmas/2005) that Santa was inbound to my house with an estimated ETA of 2338 MST (0538 Zulu) and nailed it. While I was already asleep, the next morning I checked the webcam image archive around that time ... and the Big Red Guy is tracked on ChristmasCams #1 and #3 - click on those links to see the video!
Note that I usually turn the christmas lights webcam off at 10:00. However, due to many requests from folks overseas and with permission from my great neighbors, I left it operational all night long Christmas Eve. So even thoough Internet surfers were turning the lights on and off (kinda like a random walk), I had gone to bed around 11:00 ... not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse! ;-)
ChristmasCam#1 is located across the street as can be seen here.
Santa approached from the South, landed from the West, walked across the roof
and down the chimney the behind and left of the Hulk ... and then departed
on a SouthEast track toward Denver. Rudolph's bright red
nose made him fairly easy to pick up on the way in and the way out.
No sign of Air Defense fighter escort from Norad, but I had Emailed them
earlier saying I consider jet noise to be the sound of freedom ...
so both them and Santa were cleared for flyby and landing respectively.
In this snapshot, Santa is climbing back into his sled as he prepares to depart.
the entire time-lapse sequence.
As reported by the Camera's Kate Larsen a week earlier (Dec. 17), I have three Web cams (three more than last year! ;-) at my house watching my 26,000 Christmas lights. Needless to say, my 7-year-old and 4-year-old sons were excited to see if Santa would show up on these Web cams. And, not surprisingly, the Big Red Guy (and especially Rudolph) are quite visible stopping by our Lafayette house on Christmas Eve.
So while it would be (way!) out of place for me to weigh in on journalistic reporting as other letter writers have, I thought I would write to say that while Todd accurately reported that the physics of Santa are a challenge, the conclusion is wrong. Yes, sometimes, the paper doesn't get the story right ... and yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Santa does deliver presents on Christmas Eve to children around the world.
The magic/miracle is still alive, and I would suggest that Camera readers (and their kids) review the video at www.komar.org to judge for themselves.
And you'd better believe I'll be watching next year as Santa returns at Christmas.
ALEK KOMARNITSKY - Lafayette