Germany: Help, the ice at the North Pole is melting!
Christmas event

On 4th December 2016, Santa Claus visited the House of Astronomy in Heidelberg, because he needed help looking for a new home.

Climate change has finally reached Santa Claus. It has become so warm at the North Pole that the ice below his sleigh is melting away. Soon, there will be only little ice floes left. Therefore, he turned to the House of Astronomy. He wanted to know, what the planets in our Solar System look like. Perhaps, he can find a new and ideal home there somewhere?

Many children from the Heidelberg area supported him. Together with the team of the House of Astronomy, they went on a trip trough the Solar System with our Uniview projection system. The experts reported about the conditions they found there, enabling Santa and the children to inform themselves about the alternatives.

It turned out that Mercury and Venus are too hot. Chocolate would melt there. Mars is a dry desert where nothing grows. The reindeer, which pull Santa's sleigh, would starve there. Also the big gas planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) are not suitable, as it stinks there, and Santa would not have any solid ground to stand on. Therefore, participants also visited the moons Europa and Enceladus. Although they are both covered with lots of ice, Santa Claus had to realise that they did not meet his needs, too.
Experts together with children even explored the dwarf planet Pluto. However, it is always very dark there, because the Sun is so far away that it rather resembles a bright star. This would affect Santa's mood. In addition, Pluto does not have a breathable atmosphere.

Eventually, participants were able to find a suitable place – on Earth. It is the only planet in the Solar System where people can survive for a longer period. So, Santa Claus gladly accepted the proposal to move to the South Pole. It is even in constant daylight during the Christmas season, because the Sun does not set there for many months. However, it was also stated that Santa can live there for a longer term, if we all help to prevent heating the Earth even more. Finally, the children were asked to draw Santa Claus a sketch of his new home at the South Pole.

Image: With the help of the visiting children, Santa Claus has found a new home.
Credit: Dominik Elsässer​

Haus der Astronomie