The physics behind Santa's travel times

Hadas Kuznits
December 24, 2018 - 4:00 am
If Santa stops at every child's house on Christmas Eve, how long would he have to spend at each home, and how fast would he have to travel?

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If Santa stops at every child's house on Christmas Eve, how long would he have to spend at each home, and how fast would he have to travel? The Franklin Institute's Chief Astronomer put his advanced physics degree to good use with these burning questions.

Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts says considering there are nearly 8 billion people on the planet, assuming a quarter of that number is households with children, Santa would have to visit nearly 2.5 million homes per second to reach every child in a 24-hour period. 

"And if you account for things like maybe the reindeer need to take a little break or a stop every now and then, Santa would probably have to visit something like three and a half million homes, or maybe as many as four million homes per second," Pitts said. 

Which means he's not spending a lot of time at each location. 

"If you don't account for the travel time, he's still spending only hundreds of millions of a second at each location," he said. 

Which totally makes sense, because there are no documented accounts of children actually seeing Santa dropping off gifts in their home and flying away.

"Because Santa's actually spending so little time at each home, he comes in and gets out without ever being seen because he's moving so fast," he added.