A French scientist is doing some damage control after sending Twitter into a frenzy with a picture of what he claimed to be a distant star but was actually just a piece of sausage.
Etienne Klein tweeted an image or what appeared to be a telescopic photograph of a red-tinged circle on July 31, claiming it was a photo taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of the star Proxima Centauri, which is the closest star to the sun.
“Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us. She was taken by the JWST,” the translated tweet read. “This level of detail,” he continued. “A new world is revealed day after day.”
After his initial tweet started going viral, Klein later admitted that the picture was not of the distant star, but it was actually just a photo of chorizo, a type of sausage.
“Well, when it’s time for the aperitif [an alcoholic drink]cognitive biases seem to have a field day,” he wrote in the follow up tweet. “Beware, then, of them. According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”
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As a chunk of the Twitterverse was understandably upset by the prank, he went on to explain the joke. “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 wrote in another tweet. “Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images….”
Days later, huh issued an apology via Twitter, telling his followers, “I come to present my apologies to those whom my hoax, which had nothing original about it, may have shocked,” he wrote on Wednesday, August 3.
He also linked an interview he did with Le Pointclarifying that the ordeal was nothing more than “a scientist’s joke.”
It does bear a striking resemblance to a slice of pepperoni, which, in retrospect, only makes sense.