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05th Aug 2022

Scientist forced to backtrack as ‘new picture of star’ is revealed to be a chorizo

April Curtin

He later clarified that ‘no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth’

A physicist has been forced to apologise after posting a “new picture of a star” which turned out to be a slice of chorizo.

Étienne Klein, a world-renowned French scientist, shared an image of what he initially claimed was Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun.

Klein, 64, said the picture had been taken by the brand new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which managed to capture the deepest ever image of the universe only weeks ago.

Captioning the image of what he claimed was the nearby star, Klein wrote: “This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day.”

The image received over 12,000 likes, as well as hundreds of comments. Though the scientist was later forced to clarify that the picture was, of course, not a star, but a big, fat slice of Spanish meat.

“According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth,” he joked, receiving thousands more likes.

In a slightly more serious follow-up, Klein wrote: “In view of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of amusement. Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images….”

While many Twitter users found the joke hilarious – and are clearly firm believers that chorizo really is out of this world – others found it hard to see the funny side.

“Coming from a scientific research director, it’s quite inappropriate to share this type of thing,” one wrote in response to Klein.

Responding to critics, the scientist wrote: “I come to present my apologies to those whom my hoax, which had nothing original about it, may have shocked.

“He simply wanted to urge caution with images that seem eloquent on their own. A Scientist’s Joke,” he added.

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