The Science of the Holiday

Every year, Santa Claus pays his visit.  And every year children of all ages squeal with delight when they open their packages and find something other than a lump of coal.

For the younger set, this is a character-building exercise (learning to have a bit of patience) and one of the world’s great wonders.  For older fans though, this holiday can challenge belief systems.  Folks start thinking about things like mass, the density of the atmosphere, the percentage of homes that have chimneys…and they start asking questions like: does Santa’s sleigh have IFF transponders in order to avoid getting shot down by the Iron Dome while over Bethlehem, or whether or not the interior of Santa’s sleigh is like a Tardis; do the reindeer have to wear respirators; why doesn’t the whole kit-n-caboodle burn up in the atmosphere…?

You know. Reasonable questions that any SF/F reader would ask when confronted by a scientific conundrum.

While many simply dismiss these queries as not really needing to be answered, others have chosen to address them head on, and here is a collection of their thoughts:

NPR asks Neil De Grasse Tyson to explain

Meteorologists try their hand

The Daily Telegraph addresses the issue of mass

NORAD Tracking and Physics

After reviewing these and other analysis, Amazing Stories offers its own explanation:  Drones.  Millions of them.  Here’s one:



from NATS Santa’s flight path as seen from orbit:

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