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 little 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. “
Photo de Proxima du Centaure, l’étoile la plus proche du Soleil, située à 4,2 Année-Lumière de nous.
Elle aété Prize par le JWST.
Ce niveau de détails… Un nouveau monde se dévoile jour après jour. pic.twitter.com/88UBbHDQ7Z
— Etienne Klein (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
It soon became apparent that the photo was a fake. A prank by a scientist.
“Well, when it comes time for 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 Lots of real photos of the James Webb Space Telescope, was successfully deployed on January 24. The telescope’s mission is to show objects that are too far and faint for the Hubble Space Telescope. That first image was tweeted by President Biden, and other images have since been returned.
Images from the James Webb Space Telescope