A viral ‘distant star’ photo shared on Twitter by a prominent French physicist was not actually taken by the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), but a slice of chorizo ​​pork sausage. I apologize after admitting that it was nothing more than

On July 31, Étienne Klein, head of research at the French Commission for Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy, tweeted a photo to more than 90,000 followers on Twitter, showing it a new Webb telescope photo showing the closest star to the sun. claimed to be.

“Photos of the closest star to the Sun, Proxima Centauri, are 4.2 light years away from us,” Klein wrote in a tweet (translated by Google). “Captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. This detail… every day reveals a new world.”

Screenshot of Etienne Klein’s tweet.

The tweet went viral and was retweeted thousands of times. People marveled at the imaging power of the Webb Telescope, which has amazed the world with unprecedented pictures of the universe, including shots of the oldest galaxies ever observed.

In a follow-up tweet, Klein revealed that all he tweeted was a slice of Spanish sausage.

“Well, cognitive biases seem to find a lot of fun when it comes time for cocktails… mind you,” Klein wrote. “According to modern cosmology, no object associated with Spanish charcuterie exists outside of Earth.

“In view of some of the comments, I feel obliged to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri is a form of entertainment. Learn to be wary of arguments from authority as well…”

But after receiving an angry backlash for his tweet, the scientist apologize in a few days He said it was just a joke intended to warn his followers to be careful with the photos they see online for spreading “fake news” that has confused many people.

“I have come to apologize to those who may have been shocked by my hoax, which has no originality,” he wrote. “I just wanted to call your attention to an image that looks eloquent in itself. It’s a scientist’s joke.”

Famous French physicist Etienne Klein. Photo by Thesupermat, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Klein too murmured Webb’s recent gorgeous photo of the cartwheel galaxy assured her followers that the photo was “real this time.”

“This is the first time I’ve made a joke while participating in this network as a scientific authority figure,” the physicist later told a Paris-based news magazine. Le Point“The good news is that some people picked up on the deception right away, but it also took two tweets to clarify,” the researcher explains.

“It also shows the fact that fake news has always been more successful than real news on these kinds of social networks. increase.”

The James Webb Space Telescope will launch in December 2021 and officially begin scientific observations on July 12, 2022. It is now the largest optical telescope in the universe, using unprecedented image processing capabilities to capture pioneering astronomical and space imagery, including shots of exoplanet atmospheres. So are the first stars and galaxies created at the beginning of the universe.


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