A physicist thrilled Twitter fans this week with a stunning new photo of the James Webb Space Telescope, then shocked everyone by admitting it was just a slice of tasty chorizo.
Scientist Étienne Klein, director of France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission, shared the purported James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) photo on July 31. The photo shows a reddish-orange round object on a black background that appears to be a glimpse of a star.
“Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us. It was taken by JWST,” Klein.
he wrote on Twitter (opens in a new tab), according to a Google translation. “That level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day.”
Gallery: First photos from the James Webb Space Telescope
Klein’s photo went viral, garnering 19,000 likes and more than 3,000 retweets, prompting the scientist to clarify that the image was not of the famed James Webb Space Telescope, whose first scientific photos were published by NASA in July. Instead, it was a slice of Spanish sausage chorizo.
“Well, when it’s snack time, cognitive biases seem to have a field day…” Klein added in a
later tweet (opens in a new tab). “According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere except on Earth.”
Klein’s tweets apparently drew some angry comments from JWST fans, prompting the scientist to make it clear that he was just in for a good time.
“In light of some of the comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of fun.” he
he wrote (opens in a new tab). “We learn to distrust the arguments of authority as much as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”
No wonder Klein’s supposed JWST picture gained such a wide audience. In July, NASA released the first science images from the new space observatory – the largest and most powerful space telescope mankind has built to date – and new images have been rolling out ever since.
NASA launched the $10 billion JWST in December 2021 on a mission to see the first stars and galaxies in our universe. So far, images from JWST have revealed a supernova surprise, the most distant star we’ve ever seen (it’s called Earendel), a stunning view of the Cartwheel Galaxy, a dizzying ghost galaxy, and the deepest view of the universe that have we ever seen .
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