Scientist admits ‘space telescope image’ was actually a piece of chorizo

Etienne Klein, renowned physicist and director of the French Commission for Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy, shared an image of a spicy Spanish sausage on Twitter last week, praising the “level of detail” it provided.

“A snapshot of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located at a distance of 4.2 light years from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail… Every day a new world opens up,” he told his readers. over 91,000 subscribers on Sunday.

The post was retweeted and commented on by thousands of users who took the scientist at his word.

However, all was not as it seemed.

Klein later admitted in a series of follow-up tweets that the image was actually a close-up of a slice of chorizo ​​taken against a black background.

“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, the cognitive distortions seem to be having a lot of fun… Beware of that. According to modern cosmology, no item associated with the Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”

Rare type of galaxy dazzles in new Webb image

Faced with backlash from members of the online community to the prank, he wrote, “Given some of the comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing the alleged image of Proxima Centauri was a joke. Let us learn to be wary of arguments from positions of authority, as well as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”

On Wednesday, Klein apologized for the deception, saying his intention was “to urge caution about images that seem to speak for themselves.”

In an attempt to make amends, he posted an image of the spectacular Cartwheel galaxy, assuring followers that this time the photo was genuine.

The Webb Telescope, the most powerful telescope ever launched into space, officially began scientific work on July 12. It will be able to look inside the atmospheres of exoplanets and observe some of the first galaxies created after the birth of the universe by observing them in infrared light. which is invisible to the human eye.

CNN’s Amandine Hess, Xiaofei Xu, and Joseph Ataman contributed to this report.