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A renowned physicist was forced to apologise after sharing a photo of a chorizo slice, passing it off as a star taken from NASA's James Webb telescope.

French Atomic Energy Commission research director Etienne Klein shared the image on Twitter with the tweet: "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."

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Of course, the sausage star was meant to be a joke, intending to warn social media users about believing everything they see online.

Klein eventually apologised for the prank, saying, "no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth".

He later added: "I come to apologise to those whom my hoax, which was in no way original, may have shocked.

"Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority, such as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images."

He put the stunt down to being "a scientist's joke."

Some people found it hilarious, with one tweeting: "Old mate tweets out this image of a distant star to his 90K followers, and it goes viral. It turns out it was a picture of a Spanish chorizo sausage."


Others failed to see the funny side, with one stern Twitter user slamming it as "inappropriate."

They said: "Coming from a scientific research director, it's quite inappropriate to share this type of thing without specifying from the first tweet that it is false information when you know the speed at which false information spreads."

Another furious user added, "This is NOT a James Webb ST photo taken of "Centaurus Proxima", the closest star to the sun. This is a slice of CHORIZO. Yet, this is making the round on Twitter for the past four days. Calamity."

Despite the backlash, the actualJames Webb Telescope produced some impressive results last month with a view of the universe never seen before.

The mesmerising image was unveiled last month Getty Images


US President Joe Biden revealed the first image of deep space, praising it on Twitter as "a historic moment for science and technology. For astronomy and space exploration. And for America and all humanity".

Heidi Hammel, an interdisciplinary scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope project, told TheIndependent: "[Webb] is a positive example of what we as a species can do when people of good faith work across national boundaries to share a dream and dare to do amazing things. Humanity is the better for it."

"JWST will revolutionise our understanding of the cosmos across an enormous range of scales," he said, "from the properties of planets orbiting other nearby stars to the first stars that formed out of primordial gas in the universe’s dark ages, not long after the Big Bang."

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