Scientist Apologizes for Passing off a Piece of Sausage as a Star from the James Webb Space Telescope


A French scientist has apologized after he posted a close up image of a piece of chorizo and passed it off as an image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

Images captured by the telescope have mesmerized people across the globe since last month. Science and technology showed people clear images that were once unimaginable.

On July 31, French physicist Étienne Klein shared a snap he claimed was of the star Proxima Centauri, a distant star.

He wrote, “Picture of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail… A new world is unveiled everyday.”

The image took off, and racked up thousands of likes and shares. Then, Klein pulled the rug out from under everyone.

He informed those who had enjoyed the glorious image it was a mere snap of some Spanish sausage, and not a distant star.

“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, cognitive bias seem to find plenty to enjoy… Beware of it. According to contemporary cosmology, no object related to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere else other than on Earth,” Klein wrote in a follow-up tweet.

He added:

In view of certain comments, I feel obliged to specify that this tweet showing an alleged picture of Proxima Centauri was a joke. Let’s learn to be wary of the arguments from positions of authority as much as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.

Klein apologized Wednesday to those who felt they had been duped.

“I want to apologize to those for my hoax, which was not original, could have shocked,” Klein wrote of what he called “a scientist’s joke.”

He concluded his only intention was “to urge caution regarding images that seem to speak for themselves.”

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: