French physicist sparked a social media debate after he shared an image claiming that it came from the James Webb Space Telescope and was one of the closest stars to the sun. Many people fell for the joke, while some people caught on to it. However, people criticized the physicist for spreading false information in the name of humor.
Famous Physicist Forced To Apologize After Latest 'Picture Of Star' Turns Out To Be A Piece Of Chorizo
Etienne Klein, a renowned French physicist's joke failed after he tricked people into believing that a picture of chorizo was actually one of the stars Proxima Centauri.
Klein was eventually forced to apologize for fooling people, claiming that: "no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth."
It all began last Sunday when he posted a tweet that said the latest photograph came from the James Webb Space Telescope and was one of the closest stars to the sun.
Klein tweeted: “Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us.
“She was taken by the JWST. This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day.”
Klein’s tweet sparked a social media discussion, where some people spotted the joke while others fell for it.
One said: “The last photo of Proxima Centauri was this", posting a photo of a distant star. "This is a huge step forward.”
Another added: “I can't tell if it's a prank or really proxima that looks like a chorizo.”
But Twitter user Ned Boeuf could see through the joke straight away and said: “Fake, it's a slice of chorizo.”
Though not everyone found the joke funny, “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,' came one indignant reply.”
This prompted Klein to issue his apology on Wednesday, as he tweeted: “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 tweeted to his 89,200 followers.
“Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.
“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.
“I come to present my apologies to those who may have been shocked by my prank, which had nothing original about it.”