The scientist stated that the image of a star was captured with the James Webb Space Telescope , when it was nothing more than a sausage cut in half.
A photograph of a chorizo cut in half has quickly gone viral through social networks since its author stated that it was an image of a star close to the Sun captured neither more nor less than by the James Space Telescope Webb . Clearly, this was a forgery or, as the person in charge has described it, a “joke”.
Internet hoaxes serve both to generate laughter because of how ridiculous they can be as well as to outrage a sector of users. This, curiously, has generated both. The French scientist Etienne Klein , head of research at the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Renewable Energies (CEA), published this image through his official Twitter account of him, generating all kinds of reactions.
It’s not the Proxima Centauri, it’s a sausage
In the description, the researcher mentioned that this photograph was of Proxima Centauri , one of the stars of the Centaurus constellation closest to the Sun, and that it could only be obtained with the new NASA space telescope . “This level of detail… A new world is revealed day by day,” he wrote to accompany the photo.
Of course, the photograph was not the product of rigorous astronomical observation or some kind of graphics simulation technology, in fact, it was just a sausage placed on a black background. The publication did not take long to go viral through the social network and currently has about 10.9 thousand “likes” and more than 1,400 retweets.
Photo de Proxima du Centaure, l’étoile la plus proche du Soleil, située à 4,2 année-lumière de nous.
Elle a été prise par le JWST.
Ce niveau de détails… Un nouveau monde se dévoile jour après jour. pic.twitter.com/88UBbHDQ7Z
— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
Etienne Klein apologized for the photo
Such was the scope of this publication that it began to appear in the fact-checking of various French media and a large number of users criticized the scientist for making jokes of this type despite being a science expert, so Klein decided apologize for what happened.
“I come to apologize to those who may have been offended by my joke, which is not at all original. I simply wanted to urge caution regarding images that seem eloquent on their own. I was surprised by the magnitude it took: I thought the image was going to be immediately detected as fake. And when I saw that a great journalist from BFMTV was ecstatic, and that he was risking spreading it, I told him it was a joke. He took it with great humor , ”wrote the scientist.
Despite apologizing to his research team and people for the hoax and its rapid spread, Klein has not removed his original post with the sausage photo from his Twitter account . According to what he later indicated, “fake news like this could also have educational value” , although he did not specify exactly how it could be done.
Je viens présenter mes excuses à ceux que mon canular, qui n’avait rien d’original, a pu choquer. Il voulait simplement inciter à la prudence vis-à-vis des images qui semblent éloquentes par elles-mêmes.
La blague d’un scientifique https://t.co/wHiJWxscxq #Astronomie via @LePoint
— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) August 3, 2022