Earlier this week, French physicist Etienne Klein appears to have posted a picture of Proxima Centauri, the closest known star to our star, about 4.2 light years away. The photos were gorgeous and quickly racked up thousands of likes.

There was only one problem. The picture was actually just a bit of chorizo.

Klein originally posted the photo with the caption, as translated by IGN. [James Webb Space Telescope]This level of detail… new worlds are being revealed every day. “

It soon became apparent that the photo was a fake. A prank by a scientist.

“Well, when it comes to aperitif, there seems to be a cognitive bias for sports day, so be careful.” Klein tweeted. “According to modern cosmology, no object belonging to the Spanish charcuterie exists outside of Earth.”

He then warned against misinformation online.

“Looking at certain comments, I feel obligated to clarify that the tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of entertainment. Afterwards, the spontaneous eloquence of certain images As well, we should be aware of arguments from the authorities.”

If Klein wanted to call attention to misinformation, mission accomplished. The tweets have been reported in several major publications around the world and continue to circulate online.

Thankfully, there are plenty of real photos from the James Webb Space Telescope, which successfully deployed on January 24th. The telescope’s mission is to see faint objects too far for the Hubble Space Telescope. That first image was tweeted by President Biden, and other images have since been returned.

For more space coverage, learn how Earth recently set new speed records and the growing space tourism industry.

Images from the James Webb Space Telescope

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