This is how they make white smoke (probably)

Smoke emerges from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 12, 2013. The black smoke indicates that the new pope has not been elected by the cardinals in conclave. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

White smoke has emerged from the Vatican, indicating that the cardinals have chosen a new Pope. You won't be surprised to learn that the Vatican has been vague about how they make the smoke black or white.

Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, told the Times that the chemicals in the cartridges were prepared by technicians "from several different elements."

But, Ben Baxter, an English smoke-machine supplier, suggests that the process revolves around potassium chlorate.

According to Ben Baxter, director of Pea Soup Limited, an English smoke-machine supplier in Ingleby Barwick, potassium chlorate is likely a principal chemical used in the process, considering that it ignites easily and creates a fine white smoke while burning.

Baxter suggested potassium chlorate is also used for black smoke, along with a black dye to coat the smoke particles. [NewsMax]