Scientist Etienne Klein apologizes for hoax post which showed pic of CHORIZO as Proxima Centauri
Klien who is director of research at the French Atomic Energy Commission claimed that the picture was taken by James Webb Space Telescope
A well-known French scientist was obliged to issue an apology for an image he claimed belonged to NASA's new space observatory but was actually a slice of chorizo. Etienne Klein is a distinguished scholar and director of research at the French Atomic Energy Commission.
Last Sunday, July 31, he tweeted what he purported to be the most astounding image ever captured of the star Proxima Centauri, taken by the state-of-the-art James Webb Space Telescope. According to the image, it depicts a ferocious red orb of cosmic energy that is speckled with brilliant solar flares that are raging throughout the skin of a nearby star.
The tweet said: "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.
Photo de Proxima du Centaure, l’étoile la plus proche du Soleil, située à 4,2 année-lumière de nous.— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
Elle a été prise par le JWST.
Ce niveau de détails… Un nouveau monde se dévoile jour après jour. pic.twitter.com/88UBbHDQ7Z
The image was reminiscent of well-known photographs of the sun acquired by the European Space Agency's Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), which records in-depth solar flares on the exterior of the sun at a range of 75 million miles. The distance between the Earth and Proxima Centauri, the star nearest to it, is 5.9 trillion miles.
The majority of Twitter users seemed to be able to discern that the image sent by the prominent scientist was actually a portion of Spanish chorizo, but some were more naive.
While sharing the image of a star, a person commented, "The last photo of Proxima Centauri was this. This is a huge step forward."
"I can't tell if it's a prank or really Proxima that looks like a chorizo," wrote another. A third claimed that the image was fake: "It's a slice of chorizo."
Soon after this 'hoax post,' a social media outrage began on Twitter.
A user wrote: "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 false information spreads"
Someone else penned, "Indeed, there has been a loss of resolution, which makes the joke more believable and therefore more toxic!"
The joke, according to Klein, was merely intended to encourage people to think critically and avoid immediately accepting appealing pictures from those in roles of power. He recognized that several viewers had not grasped his joke, so he apologized in writing on August 4.
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….'"
Au vu de certains commentaires, je me sens obligé de préciser que ce tweet montrant un prétendu cliché de Proxima du Centaure relevait d’une forme d’amusement. Apprenons à nous méfier des arguments d’autorité autant que de l’éloquence spontanée de certaines images….— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
Bon, quand sonne l’heure de l’apéritif, les biais cognitifs semblent s’en donner à cœur joie… Gare, donc, à eux. Selon la cosmologie contemporaine, nul objet relevant de la charcuterie espagnole n’existe ailleurs que sur Terre.— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
"Well, when it's time for the aperitif, cognitive biases seem to have a field day... Beware, then, of them. According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth," he added.
In another post described as a "scientist's joke," he said, "I come to present my apologies to those who may have been shocked by my prank, which had nothing original about it."
Je viens présenter mes excuses à ceux que mon canular, qui n’avait rien d’original, a pu choquer. Il voulait simplement inciter à la prudence vis-à-vis des images qui semblent éloquentes par elles-mêmes.— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) August 3, 2022
La blague d'un scientifique https://t.co/wHiJWxscxq #Astronomie via @LePoint
Before that, he published the image, titled "REAL this time," taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of the Chariot Wheel galaxy and its neighboring galaxies. Its caption read: "Located 500 million light-years away, it was undoubtedly spiral in its past, but took on this strange appearance following a furious galactic pile-up."
Photo (VRAIE cette fois…) de la galaxie de la Roue du Chariot et de ses galaxies compagnes, prise par le JWST. Située à 500 millions d’années-lumière, elle fut sans doute spirale dans son passé, mais a pris cette étrange allure à la suite d’un furieux carambolage galactique. pic.twitter.com/vmiDjU1Gjt— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) August 3, 2022
Klein is not the first renowned individual to create light-hearted puns like this. In a playful jab at NASA, Elon Musk released a meme on Twitter the previous month, poking fun at the JWST by contrasting a granite kitchen countertop with an image of space.
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