Is it a star? Is it chorizo? Or is it an astronomy prank gone wrong?
After posting a picture that he claimed to be a brand-new image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope but was simply a cross-section of chorizo, a well-known French physicist had to make a public apology on Twitter.
(Photo : Etienne Klein/ Twitter)
This photo features a slice of a chorizo, which French physicist Etienne Klein claimed to be a brand-new image captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. He later revealed that it was just a “prank” and cautioned people to wary of what they initially see.
A Scientists’ Joke
The image was shared on Twitter on July 31 by Etienne Klein, a research director at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. He tweeted that the chorizo is Proxima Centauri – a tiny, low-mass star located almost near the Sun.
After causing confusion and debate for Twitter users, Klein eventually apologized for the joke and explained that his goal was not to surprise anyone but to remind others always to exercise skepticism and not believe what they initially saw.
The physicist clarified that it was his own way of having fun and dubbed the prank a “scientists’ joke.”
“Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us. She was taken by the JWST. This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day,” Klein wrote in his prank tweet.
— ≋ (@sleiphir_) August 4, 2022
Although several Twitter users rode with the prank and made it an instant meme, some people did not take the tweet lightly, especially coming from a scientific authority like Klein.
One user argued, “coming from a scientific research director, it’s quite inappropriate to share this type of thing without specifying from the 1st tweet that it is false information when you know the speed at which a false information.”
However, one user came to Klein’s defense claiming that politicians are doing “exactly the same thing.”
“Yet our politicians are doing exactly the same thing except that it negatively affects the lives of 67 million people but hey, it’s better to be offended by a schoolboy joke than to react to the “blagounettes” of the government, isn’t it,” the user argued.
Read also: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Captures a ‘Dramatic Stellar Death’ In Deep Space Video
“REAL This Time”
Klein later shared a different image from the James Webb Space Telescope, claiming it was “REAL this time,” following his apology.
The image he shared featured the beautiful yet chaotic Cartwheel Galaxy that James Webb recently released.
(Photo : NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)
Set against the background of numerous galaxies, Webb’s strong infrared sight captured this crisply detailed image of the Cartwheel and two smaller companion galaxies.
It is worth noting that the picture features a dramatic stellar event as a massive pink-speckled galaxy is on the verge of a high-speed collision with two smaller galaxies, according to NASA.
Related Article: ‘New Era in Astronomy:’ NASA James Webb Space Telescope’s New Stunning Images and The Stories Behind Them
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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla
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