A prominent French physicist has been forced to apologize for a photograph that he says POTIts new space telescope but it was actually a piece of chorizo.
Etienne Klein, a noted philosopher and director of research at the French Atomic Energy Commission, told his followers that ‘no substance belonging to the Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.’
He posted a tweet last Sunday that he claimed was the latest astonishing image of Proxima Centauri from the James Webb Space Telescope’s cutting edge.
The photograph purports to show a fiery red ball of cosmic energy, pockmarked with fiery solar storms across the surface of neighboring stars.
“Image of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, 4.2 light years away,” Klein tweeted.
‘He was taken by JWST. This level of detail… a new world unfolds day after day.’
This is the image that a renowned physicist, philosopher and research director at the French Atomic Energy Commission, posted on Twitter and claimed – as a joke – to be the latest astonishing image of the star’s cutting edge James Webb Space Telescope. Proxima Centauri
This image of our Sun was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on January 8, 2022.
Etienne Klein is a noted philosopher and research director of the French Atomic Energy Commission
The photograph resembles the famous portrait of the Sun taken by the European Space Agency’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), which captured detailed solar storms on the surface of our home star 75 million miles away.
The nearest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri, 5.9 trillion miles away.
While most Twitter users recognized that the photo posted by the eminent physicist was actually a piece of Spanish sausage, others were more innocent.
‘This was the last picture of Proxima Centauri,’ said one user, posting a picture of the distant star. ‘It’s a huge step forward.’
‘I can’t tell if it’s a prank or really Proxima that looks like chorizo,’ wrote another.
However, Twitter user Ned Boeuf was not fooled. ‘Fake, it’s a slice of chorizo.’
Then the reaction started on Twitter.
‘Coming from a scientific research director, it’s totally inappropriate to share something like this without mentioning from the first tweet that when you know the speed at which a false information spreads, it’s false information,’ came one angry reply.
Twitter users are impressed with the giant step forward in space telescopes that JWST represents
This user was more skeptical but still on the fence about whether it was a joke or serious
However, not everyone was stupid
A backlash began with users accusing Klein of spreading misinformation
‘In fact, there is a loss of resolution which makes the joke more believable and therefore more toxic!’ wrote another.
Klein admitted that many users didn’t understand his joke, which he said was simply aimed at encouraging people to ask questions and not automatically accept ‘eloquent pictures’ from people in positions of authority.
He wrote his apology on Wednesday.
‘Given some of the comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of entertainment,’ he tweeted to his 89,200 followers.
‘Let us learn to beware of arguments from authority like the spontaneous eloquence of some image….’
‘Well, when it’s aperitif time, cognitive biases seem to have a field day…
Elon Musk posted this meme last month, light-heartedly poking fun at JWST’s astronomical photos
‘Then beware of them. According to contemporary cosmology, no substance of Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.’
‘I came to apologize to those who may have been shocked by my prank, which had nothing original about it,’ he said, describing the post as a ‘scientist joke’.
Earlier he posted the James Webb Space Telescope’s capture of the Rothschild Galaxy and its companion galaxies, (‘Real this time’).
‘Located 500 million light-years away, it was undoubtedly spiral in its past, but took on this strange appearance after a violent galactic pile-up.’
Last month Elon Musk made a light-hearted joke aimed at NASA, posting a meme comparing a kitchen granite slab to a view from space.