About six "Santa months," according to Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University. He's a Santa math specialist (really) whose students took on the problem.
Here's how he got there: Santa has to deliver gifts to around 200 million children spread over 200 million square miles. Because each household has 2.67 children, there are about 75 million homes to visit and the average distance between homes is about 1.63 miles, Santa needs to cover 122 million miles.
To cover that distance in 24 hours on Christmas, Mr. Claus's sleigh would need to travel at a whopping average speed of 5,083,000 mph. Silverberg argues that the feat is possible because the sleigh would have to travel 130 times more slowly than the speed of light, which is 300 million meters per second, or 669,600,000 mph. Because something already moves that quickly, it would be difficult, but not impossible, for Santa to travel at 5,083,000 mph.
Traveling at 5,083,000 mph seems a bit fast for a plump old man so Silverberg and his students found a more realistic scenario: relativity clouds. Relativity clouds, based on relative physics, allow Santa to stretch time like a rubber band and give him months to deliver gifts, while only a few minutes pass for the rest of us. (Silverberg theorizes that Santa's understanding of relative physics is far greater than our own.)
Silverberg's theory is plausible, says Danny Maruyama, a doctoral candidate researching systems physics at the University of Michigan. If Santa were to travel at about the speed of light, share the delivery work-load with his elves and makes use of relativity clouds, he would be able to deliver the presents in about five minutes Earth time, Maruyama says. "While I don't know much about relativity clouds myself, I think it's very possible that a man who flies in a sleigh, lives with elves, and has flying pet reindeer could have the technology needed to utilize relativity clouds," he says.
And what if Santa deployed multiple sleighs? Silverberg says if Santa and his elves use 750 sleighs to deliver the gifts and, using their knowledge of relativity physics, take roughly six Santa months (to us humans, only 24 hours), each sleigh only needs to travel about 80 mph, a much more realistic scenario. "At 80 miles per hour, you just throw a couple jetpacks on either sides of the sleighs and you're there," Silverberg says.
Prior to Obama being elected, many major industries and business were about to report to the government what they believed up and coming layoffs. Companies by law are supposed to report this to the government and people if have enough prior knowledge for the benefit of the people and the government to prepare.
But since this would appear negative politically to the Obama campaign, they said we will waive the law this time and no penalties will happen.
It kept the up and coming announcements of layoffs out of the media for a while.
It does not change the fact what business are planning and what layoffs will happen.
But after Jan 1st, people will just be laid off with little notice.
Then the working parents will not be able to pay for Christmas and the gifts might need to be returned.
Thank you Santa Obama for returning gifts and the up and coming recession!
If we are going to consider the speed of delivering a gift, I thought it important to considering the speed of its return too.
Well the jokes on you all. Santa doesn't use a real sled to make Xmas deliveries but simply 'juants' or 'jumps' from Chimney to Chimney much like the guy in the movie 'jumper'.
In this way Santa can instantaneously go from house to house and because his jumps reset the clock back to zero then no time passes at all between his jumps. So effectively Santa delivers to EVERY house at the same time!
Rumors have it that the US Post Office is in negotiations with Santa for how to deliver the mail the same way!
Your comment fails to bring any science or reality to this blog.
The same can be said for your political rants, so those in glass houses.......
This analysis is incomplete. How many gifts would Santa have to haul in his sleigh? How much would they weigh and how big a cargo hold would he need? Could he deliver them all in one trip or would he need to go back to his home base periodically to restock his sleigh?
Magic. Got it.
Santa is clearly a Q from the Q continuum. He simply snaps his fingers, and all the presents are instantly delivered.
I made no rant. I made my point and stopped and there is no glass house.
Sorry robot, but your comment clearly was a political rant that had nothing to do with science.
I did a search of the definition of rant and well I must say somewhere in the depths of the 3 meaning you are correct; I went off on a kind of tangent. Though I do have to say no windows were broken in the process and well I do care about people, the economy and jobs.
I am sorry to distract you from your fantasy of Santa Clause. If you or a friend is unemployed soon with no notice, I hope you Santa Clause Christmas keep you warm.
Take care. ;)
Now calculate it relative to the passing night. With Relative Clouds, speed of light, and so on he can do the 200 million children in 5 minutes. But he doesn't need to go that fast. Kids go to bed at a certain time and wake up at a certain time.
For instance, I used to go to bed at 12 and wake up at 5 every year with one of my brothers. Knowing he can have averages of 5 hours per time zone someone do the math. Shit he can have breaks. Now what people thought amazing for Santa, is now turned into a Union job.
Silly article. Everyone knows that Santa uses magic to have all the time he needs to deliver presents the night of Yule.
The article was obviously written without a research visit to the toybuilding/relativistic-engineering workshop at latitude 90.
Even a short visit to the workshop complex would make it obvious that the sleigh is equipped with a next-gen Alcubierre Drive. The shape of the warp bubble it creates is highly optimized to allow the sleigh to pass from home to home without crossing the space between and without dumping the excess energy upon arrival (which would otherwise vaporize the planet quite nicely). That excess energy is captured and used to recharge the Alcubierre Drive's power supply, making it so that almost no external mass is actually needed to engergize the drive after its first jump.
(What little mass is still needed is obtained by converting into pure energy the entire mass of the boys and girls on the naughty list.)
Santa is of course the physical projection of a vast pan-dimensional being. He actually becomes 7-8 million Santas on Xmas eve (complete with sleighs and reindeer*....all females as the males have lost their antlers in the winter) and they can each comfortably deliver the goodies (and lumps of coal where appropriate) to an average of ten households in a couple of hours. How else could all the milk and Xmas mince pies be consumed without a single Santa being at risk of exploding?
*He uses kangaroos in the southern hemisphere, except in NZ where Agricultural regulations forbid the import of exotic animals. He flies with teams of six rams here.
Kiwiiano... I'm right 98% of the time, so who cares about the other 3%?
HERE is the ACTUALITY... :) ---
"there are about 75 million homes to visit and the average distance between homes is about 1.63 miles, Santa needs to cover 122 million miles."
Isn't there a traveling salesperson problem here?
If ninety-nine houses were concentrated next to each other(in a city perhaps), and the hundredth house was 163 miles away, Santa would only have to cover 163 miles. But if the houses were spread out like in a suburb, there are various possible distances to cover, depending on what order the houses were visited.
The author wrote that Larry Silverberg calculated:
"Because each household has 2.67 children, there are about 75 million homes to visit and the average distance between homes is about 1.63 miles, Santa needs to cover 122 million miles."
Sorry, but that is way oversimplifying the problem. The calculation of the length of Santa's trip is very similar to the fractal problem of calculating the length of a coastline. In order to find the true length of the coastline, you must calculate and add in the length of every little indentation of the shoreline, even the distance around individual rocks. Similarly, you cannot just calculate the distance from one house to the next. You must also add in the distance from the sleigh to the chimney, and down the chimney, and then to the tree, and then the journey back up to the sleigh.
You might also need to add in the distance from the tree to plates of cookies and milk. And rest stops.
Where there is no chimney, you must figure out the time and distance required for Santa to find some door or window to break in. And where parking is a problem, you must figure out the real distance from where Santa parked the sleigh to the house, and back.
It's going to be a lot more than just the distance from one house to the next.
Have a Merry Christmas.
I guess there needs to be a red herring alert tag added.
Yes, there are typically layoffs after the Christmas temp season work is over and some when 4th quarter sales totals are in. Lots rides on whether Santa shops heavy or not.
Which also leads me to wonder if the faster naughty, not nice coal drops are significant enough to shorten the delivery time calculated for the stops.
Robot, destroyed. Good work.
We are talking about SANTA Effing clause... theres no real science to be mentioned... so stahp!
I wish and hope all your Santa Claus fantasies do come true, seriously!
Take care. ;)
Sure you do Robot.
Fantasy? We're just having fun here. Santa, his story and all the goodness and happiness he represents is for the children who believe in him and learn from him. Good will towards others and peace is what he represents to adults.
How about you stop ACTING like a robot and learn a little humanity for a change?
And a "Merry Christmas" to you and everyone.
I wish your 'dreams and wishes' do come true and again
wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!
People like you, robot, are the kind of people that pretend to be nice but are really laughing from behind their computer. What's with your picture, anyway?
Wa Wa, you WhinerS, lol!.. Time to move on. :)
Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!!!!!!
@HBillyRufus made a great point. I think this is a fairly large oversight by the author of this article. Does Santa have a sleigh the size of a cargo ship so he can haul all those presents? If so, could eight reindeer pull a sleigh of that size? I'm not sure how you'd calculate the thrust produced by a flying reindeer. Or perhaps Santa's toy sack is like a pocket universe that is infinity large on the inside. If that's the case, I suppose pulling something specific out might be a problem.
Good point, but the article was a study of required velocity, using time available versus distance that must be covered. How a specific payload of any size can be delivered is another subject to research.
Quote: "could eight reindeer pull a sleigh of that size?"
Santa must has access to highly advanced technology to pull this off each year, since any technology we don't understand appears as magic to us, and Christmas is indeed, magical!
What utter tripe! I cannot believe PopSci prints stuff like this !!
We ALL know that Santa checks who has been naughty or nice.
Hence,his 24 hour duty is much longer.It involves peeking on those little kids 24/7 365.
Therefore,to assume that he can fit that in with an actual delivery schedule that takes Santa MONTHS is absurd.
You can argue all you want about a quantum santa cloud,but until I see CERN move to the North Pole I will assume he has very,very fast reindeer..and a g-suit.Anything else pushes this to the realm of fantasy.
I like how we pay good money to that school so that their professor can be THE expert on Santamath. I guess this is the school that all of our politicians attend before being entrusted with the responsibility of drawing up budgets that our citizens can plan against, and thereby being able to profit from. Because if not, then the actual methodology is less based in reality than that.