A renowned physicist has been forced to apologize over an image of a ‘planet’ he said was from NASA’s new space telescope but it was just a photo of chorizo.
Etienne Klein, a research director at the French Atomic Energy Commission, told his followers that “no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”
He took to Twitter and claimed that the image was the latest photo from the cutting-edge James Webb Space Telescope of the star Proxima Centauri, the star closest to Earth.
“Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us,” Klein wrote on Twitter.
“She was taken by the JWST. This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day.”
The image resembled pictures of the sun taken by the European Space Agency’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), which shows solar storms in detail.
While most internet users recognized that the image shared by the philosopher was a slice of a Spanish sausage, others believed that it was indeed a photo of the star.
One Twitter user wrote: “The last photo of Proxima Centauri was this. This is a huge step forward.”
Another commented: “I can’t tell if it’s a prank or really proxima that looks like a chorizo.”
A third said: “Fake, it’s a slice of chorizo.”
Someone else said: “Coming from a scientific research director, it’s quite inappropriate to share this type of thing without specifying from the 1st tweet that it is false information when you know the speed at which a false information spreads.”
On Wednesday, Klein apologized for his joke which he said was aimed at encouraging people to question and not just accept ‘eloquent’ photos given by people with authority.
“In view of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of amusement,” he explained.
“Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images,” he continued.
“Well, when it’s time for the aperitif, cognitive biases seem to have a field day…
“Beware, then, of them. According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”
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