- Etienne Klein posted a photo on Twitter of what he claimed was the nearest star to the sun.
- The photo was actually an image of a spicy Spanish sausage called chorizo.
- Klein later apologized for the joking post, warning readers of “cognitive bias.”
A French scientist has apologized after posting an image to Twitter he claimed was a photo of a red star but was actually a snap of spicy Spanish sausage.
“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,” CNN reported physicist Etienne Klein told his followers on Sunday.
—Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
In reality, the picture was an enlarged photo of a slice of chorizo, a type of smoked pork sausage.
Less than an hour later, the scientist posted again to clarify the joke and added: “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.”
The viral tweet garnered varied reactions — some expressing disbelief or immediately catching on to the joke, while others criticized the director of research for France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission for his timing and misusing his authority.
“In view of certain comments, I feel obliged to specify that this tweet showing an alleged picture of Proxima Centauri was a joke,” Klein added in a later post. “Let’s learn to be wary of the arguments from positions of authority as much as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”
Klein did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.