“Picture of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail… A new world is unveiled every day,” he told his more than 91,000 followers on Sunday.
Photo de Proxima du Centaure, l’étoile la plus proche du Soleil, située à 4,2 année-lumière de nous.https://t.co/88UBbHDQ7Z
— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) ) July 31, 2022
Thousands of users shared the image on Twitter and commented on it, taking the scientist at his word.
However, things were not as they seemed at first.
In a series of subsequent tweets, Klein later acknowledged that the picture was a close-up of a chorizo sausage slice on a dark background.
“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, cognitive bias seem to find plenty to enjoy… Beware of it. According to contemporary cosmology, no object related to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere else other than on Earth”
He posted this after receiving criticism for the prank from users of the online community: “In view of certain comments, I feel obliged to specify that this tweet showing an alleged picture of Proxima Centauri was a joke. Let’s learn to be wary of the arguments from positions of authority as much as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”
When asked about the fake on Wednesday, Klein said his goal was to “to urge caution regarding images that seem to speak for themselves.”