With its captivating images of distant galaxies, it’s safe to say captured the imagination of the whole world. He was also the subject of a not-so-lovely prank recently. On July 31, Étienne Klein, director of the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, share an image he claimed by the JWST captured of Proxima Centauri, the closest known star to the sun.
“It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope,” Klein told his more than 91,000 Twitter followers. “This level of detail… A new world is unveiled every day.” Thousands of people took the post at face value and retweeted it without comment.
Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us.
It was awarded by the JWST.
This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day. pic.twitter.com/88UBbHDQ7Z
— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
Days later, Klein admitted what he was sharing was actually a photo of a slice of chorizo against a black background. “In view of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged photo of Proxima Centauri was a joke,” Klein said. . “Let us learn to be as wary of arguments from positions of authority as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images.”
Klein later apologized for the prank and told French media (Going through Vice) he posted the image to educate the public about the threat of fake news. “I also think if I hadn’t said it was a picture of James Webb, it wouldn’t have been so successful,” he noted. After all was said and done, Klein shared the recent image JWST captured of the wheel galaxy. This time, he was quick to assure his followers that the photo was genuine.
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