Loading
Vatican details how new smoke signals are produced
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Varying chemical compounds have replaced wet straw and pitch to produce the Vatican smoke signal that is used to communicate the result of conclave voting sessions.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, assistant to the Vatican press office director, explained that since 2005 the Vatican has used chemical compounds to better communicate the result of the conclave.

“For a Church that has made much progress in the area of modern communications, computer technology, Internet and Twitter, the conclave still relies on smoke signals to let the world know of its results,” he said in a March 11 statement to the press.

In the past, wet straw was used to create the white smoke, while pitch – a tar-like substance – was used to create black smoke.

Due to a number of “false alarms” in the past, Fr. Rosica explained, the Vatican has sought the help of “modern chemistry” to produce more easily distinguishable shades of smoke.

Now, the black smoke is produced by a mixture of potassium perchlorate, anthracene, and sulphur, while the white smoke is made by burning a mixture of potassium chlorate, lactose, and rosin – a natural amber resin.

A traditional stove inside the Sistine Chapel is used to burn the ballots following a voting session, while a separate stove that sits alongside it helps produce the distinctive black or white smoke.

Depending on the result of the vote, an electronic control panel is used to request chemical compounds that have been pre-mixed by Vatican technicians which will then produce either shade of smoke.

Although two separate units are used to create the smoke, the plume comes out of one chimney by the time it emerges above the Sistine Chapel. The smoke stack is pre-heated and contains a backup fan to help ventilation if necessary.

Black smoke, as was seen at 7:42 p.m. Rome time March 12, indicates a failed conclave. By contrast, white smoke accompanied by the ringing of the Vatican bells will signal that a new Pope has been selected.

Tags: Conclave

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
22

Liturgical Calendar

October 22, 2014

Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:39-48

Gospel
Date
10/22/14
10/21/14
10/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 3: 2-12
Gospel:: Lk 12: 39-48
Gospel:: Lk 12: 39-48

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:39-48

Homily
Date
10/22/14
10/21/14
10/20/14