The space may be closer than we think — maybe even sitting on a charcuterie board.
A French scientist has had to apologize for his spicy space joke after he… tweeted a photo of a slice of chorizo, claiming it was a distant star captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Étienne Klein – a physicist and director of the French Commission on Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy – shared the photo of the cured meat cut on Twitter last week, gushing about the “level of detail” it offered.
Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, 4.2 light-years away. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope,” reads the tweet. “This level of detail… A new world is revealed every day.”
In some follow-up tweets, Klein apologized and informed followers that the smoked sausage is strictly earthbound and a “form of entertainment.”
“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, cognitive bias seems to find plenty to enjoy… Beware. According to contemporary cosmology, nowhere else than on Earth does not exist a single object related to Spanish charcuterie,” he wrote.
“Given some of the comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet featuring an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of entertainment,” he said in another tweet. “Let us learn to be wary of arguments of authority and equally of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”
He later tweeted a photo of the Chariot Wheel galaxy taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, assuring his followers that it was “real” this time.
“Photo (real this time…) of the Chariot Wheel galaxy and its companion galaxies, taken by the JWST. Located 500 million light-years away, it was undoubtedly spiral in its past, but took on this strange appearance after a raging galactic accumulation,” 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 countless galaxies.
The $10 billion telescope — launched on December 25, 2021 — was a joint project of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency and has already traveled 1 million miles in space.