French scientist admits to joke tweeting picture of chorizo, not ‘space telescope image’


This image provided by NASA on Monday, July 11, 2022, shows galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.

(The Hill) – A French scientist apologized for a joke he posted on Twitter, in which he claimed a photo of a chorizo was that of a star. 

Etienne Klein, who is the research director of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, posted a photo last week that he claimed was of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. 

The telescope sent back its first full-color image showing the deepest view of the universe ever seen last month, after reaching its destination almost 1 million miles from Earth earlier this year. 

Klein pointed to the level of detail in the image he posted and said that a “new world” is being revealed. 

But he commented on his post about an hour later to reveal the joke, saying that modern cosmology states that no object from “Spanish charcuterie” exists outside of Earth. 

After receiving some comments critical of the joke, Klein commented that it was meant for amusement. 

“Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images,” he said. 

On Wednesday, Klein posted a real image of a few galaxies located 500 million light years away that the telescope took. He also apologized for the joke, saying he wanted to urge caution about images that appear to speak for themselves.

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