Chorizo Centauri? Award-Winning Physicist Trolls Media With Image of Sausage

Award-winning French physicist Etienne Klein has issued a public apology for presenting a photo of a slice of chorizo sausage as an image of Proxima Centauri taken by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

In his retraction, Klein said that he did this as a satirical way to inspire broader, healthier skepticism over the validity of astronomical images before accepting them as fact.

“I come to present my apologies to those who may have been shocked by my prank, which had nothing original about it. It was only intended to incite caution regarding images that seem to speak for themselves,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Klein shared the image on July 31 via Twitter. “Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light-years from us. It was taken by the JWST,” he stated in the caption. “This level of detail… A new world is revealing itself day by day.”

Klein’s tweet, to his surprise, took off like a rocket across the internet, garnering around 3,000 retweets/quote tweets and 14,300 “likes.”

What appeared to the nascent eye a legitimate astronomical photo of the red dwarf star was, of course, just a slice of sausage against a black backdrop.

“I was surprised by the extent of the dissemination: I thought the image would immediately be detected as false,” Klein said on The Objective, via Agence Free Press. “And when I saw that a major journalist from BFMTV was enthusiastic about the issue and was at risk of spreading it, I told him it was a joke. He took it with a lot of humor.”