A French scientist has apologized after claiming a photo of a piece of Spanish chorizo was actually of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun.
On Sunday, physicist Étienne Klein tweeted a photo of a round red object on a black background that he claimed was taken from the James Webb Space Telescope.
“This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day,” he wrote in the tweet, which can be seen below.
Less than an hour later, Klein posted another tweet where he suggested his followers beware of “cognitive biases,” and noted that “according to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”
A few hours later, Klein admitted he posted the original sausage star photo “as a form of amusement,” and tried to turn the prank into a teachable moment, saying, “Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority.”
On Tuesday, Klein posted a photo that really was taken from the James Webb Space Telescope and promised it was “REAL this time.”
Klein officially apologized for the “scientist’s joke” on Wednesday, and said he just wanted to urge caution about believing images that seemed too good to be true.
Many Twitter users grudgingly admired Klein’s “chorizo star” post.