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Earlier this week, French physicist Etienne Klein appeared to have released a photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest known star to us, about 4.2 light away. year. The photo was beautiful and quickly amassed thousands of likes.

There’s just one problem: this photo is actually just a little bit of sausage.

As translated by IGN, Klein originally posted the photo with the caption: “Close-up photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun, 4.2 light-years away. It was created by [James Webb Space Telescope]. This level of detail…a new world unfolds day after day. “

It was soon discovered that the photo was fake. A scientist’s prank.

“Well, cognitive biases seem to matter when it’s time for aperitif, so watch out for them,” Klein tweeted. “According to contemporary cosmology, there are no objects on Earth that belong to Spanish deli.”

He then warned against posting misinformation online.

“When seeing certain comments, I feel obligated to state that tweets showing so-called snapshots of Proxima Centauri are a form of entertainment. After this, we must be wary of arguments from authority, as is the spontaneous eloquence of certain images .”

If Klein wants to draw attention to misinformation, mission accomplished. The tweet was featured in several major publications around the world and continues to circulate online.

Thankfully, the James Webb Space Telescope successfully deployed many actual photos on January 24. The telescope’s mission is to look at objects that are too distant and faint that the Hubble Space Telescope cannot. Its first image was tweeted by President Biden, and it has since returned with other images.

For more space coverage, find out how Earth recently set new speed records and the growing space tourism industry.

James Webb Space Telescope image

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