A red ball of spiced fire with luminous flecks that glowed ominously against a black background.
This, said the famous French scientist Etienne Klein, was the last surprising photo taken by the James Webb space telescope of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Sun.
Other Twitter users marveled at the details about the image allegedly taken by the telescope, which electrified the world with images of distant galaxies dating back to the births of the universe.
“This level of detail … A new world is revealed every day,” he exclaimed.
But in reality, as Klein later revealed, the image was not of the intriguing star just over four light-years from the sun, but a much more modest slice of Spanish sizzling sausage chorizo.
“According to contemporary cosmology, no objects belonging to Spanish cured meats exist anywhere except on Earth,” he said.
Klein acknowledged that many users did not understand his joke which, he said, was simply meant to encourage us “to be wary of the arguments of people in positions of authority, as well as the spontaneous eloquence of some images.”
However, at a time when fighting fake news is of paramount importance to the scientific community, many Twitter users said they were not amused by Klein, research director at the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and manufacturer. of radio programs.
On Wednesday he apologized to those who were misled.
“I come to present my apologies to those who may have been shocked by my joke, which was nothing original,” he said, describing the post as a “scientist’s joke.”
Soon after, he returned to safer ground by posting on Twitter an image of the famous Cartwheel galaxy taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This time, he assured users, the photo was real.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)