The space may be closer than we think – perhaps even sitting on a charcuterie board.
A French scientist has had to apologize for his spicy space joke after he tweeted a picture 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 France’s Alternative Energies and Nuclear Energy Commission – shared the photo of the cured meat slice on Twitter last week, gushing over the “level of detail” it provided.
“Image of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, which is 4.2 light-years away. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope,” a translation of the tweet read. “This level of detail… A new world is unveiled every day.”
In some follow-up tweets, Klein apologized, informing followers that smoked sausage is strictly earthbound and a “form of entertainment.”
“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, cognitive bias seems to find a lot to enjoy… Watch out. According to modern cosmology, no object related to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth,” he wrote .
“In light of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of entertainment,” he said in another tweet. “Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”
He later tweeted an image of the Chariot Wheel galaxy, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, assuring followers that it was “real” this time.
“Image (REAL this time…) of the Chariot Wheel galaxy and its companion galaxies, taken by JWST. Located 500 million light-years away, it was undoubtedly spiral in the past, but acquired this strange appearance after a furious galactic accretion,” the researcher wrote .
Images from the James Webb Space Telescope went viral in July when the first images were released 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 involving NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency and has already traveled 1 million miles through space.