Asked by: BBC Focus Magazine
According to Arnold Pompos of Purdue University, Father Christmas would have to travel a total of 160,000,000km – further than the distance from the Earth to the Sun – to visit 800 million children in 200 million homes spread over 3x1013m2 of land around the world. He would have about 10 hours, from 8pm to 6am, to deliver the presents. Luckily, children happen to be spread across a wide range of time zones, buying Santa an additional 24 hours.
Even so, covering this distance in 34 hours is certainly no mean feat. Crunching the figures, we get a speed of 4,705,882km/h, far slower than the speed of light, but still fast enough that the air resistance is likely to vaporise Santa, along with all the children’s gifts… if he wasn’t riding a magic sleigh.