Space may be closer than we think, perhaps even sitting at a charcuterie board.
A French scientist has had to apologize for his piquant space prank after tweeted a photo from a slice of sausage, claiming it was a distant star captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Étienne Klein, a physicist and director of France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission, shared the photo of the slice of cured meat on Twitter last week, raving about the “level of detail” it provided.
“Image of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope,” reads a translation of the tweet. “This level of detail… A new world is revealed every day.”
In a few follow-up tweets, Klein apologized and informed his followers that smoked sausage is strictly earthy and a “form of fun.”
“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, the cognitive bias seems to find plenty to enjoy… Watch out for that. According to contemporary cosmology, no object related to Spanish charcuterie exists outside of Earth,” she wrote.
“In light of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of diversion,” he said in another tweet. “Let us learn to distrust both the arguments of authority and the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”
He later tweeted an image of the Chariot Wheel galaxy, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, assuring his followers that this time it was “real.”
“Photo (REAL this time…) of the Chariot Wheel galaxy and its companion galaxies, taken by JWST. Located 500 million light-years away, it was undoubtedly a spiral in its past, but it took on this strange appearance after a furious galactic collision,” the scientist wrote.
Images from the James Webb Space Telescope went viral in July when the first images were released to the 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 miles through space.