Etienne Klein, the renowned physicist and director of France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission, shared a photo of the spicy Spanish sausage on Twitter last week, praising the “level of detail”.
“Image of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located at a distance of 4.2 light years from us. It was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail… new worlds emerge every day,” he adds. From 91,000 followers on Sunday.
The post was retweeted and commented on by thousands of users, so that the world listened to them.
However, things are not as they seem.
Klein later admitted in a series of follow-up tweets that the photo was actually a close-up cut of chorizo against a black background.
“Well, at cocktail hour, the cognitive bias finds a lot to be enjoyed … Beware of it. According to contemporary cosmology, nowhere on Earth has anything to do with Spanish charcuterie.”
After receiving strong backlash from members of the online community for the joke, he wrote, “Based on some of the comments, I feel compelled to decide that this tweet is showing a picture that is claimed to be Proxima Centauri. Does, is a joke. Let’s learn to be cautious. Argument from positions of authority as much as rhetoric, the spontaneity of some images.
On Wednesday, Klein apologized for the fraud, saying he intended “to exercise caution with respect to images that appear to speak for themselves.”
In an attempt to compensate for this, he posted a stunning photo of Kart Galaxy, in which he reassured his followers that the image was real this time.
The Webb Telescope, the most powerful telescope ever built in space, officially began its science operations on July 12. It will be able to view exoplanetary envelopes and see through infrared light some of the first galaxies formed since the beginning of the universe. It is invisible to the human eye.
Nation World News’s Amandine Hess, Xiaofei Xu and Joseph Attamann contributed to this report.