Incredible ‘space telescope image’ was actually a slice of chorizo

Space may be closer than we think – maybe even sitting on a charcuterie board.

A French scientist had to apologize for his spicy space prank after he tweeted a photo of a slice of chorizo, saying it was a distant star captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.

Etienne Klein – physicist and director of the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission – shared the photo of the dried meat slice on Twitter last week, gushing over the “level of detail” it provided.

“Image of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope,” read a translation of the tweet. “This level of detail… A new world unfolds every day.”

In some follow-up tweets, Klein apologized, informing followers that the smoked sausage is strictly earthly and a “form of fun.”

“Well, when it’s happy hour, cognitive biases seem to find something to play with…Beware of that.” According to contemporary cosmology, no object related to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth,” he writes.

“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 said in another tweet. “Let us learn to distrust arguments from authority as much as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”

He later tweeted a photo of the Chariot Wheel galaxy, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, assuring his followers it was “real” this time.

“Photo (REAL this time…) of the Chariot Wheel galaxy and its companion galaxies, taken by the JWST. Located 500 million light-years away, it was probably spiraling in its past, but took on this strange appearance following a furious galactic pile-up.

Images from the James Webb Space Telescope went viral in July when the first images were made public in July, providing never-before-seen images of the universe and its myriad galaxies.

The $10 billion telescope – launched on December 25, 2021 – was a joint project involving NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency and has already traveled 1 million kilometers through space.

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