Did you see a stunning image of Proxima Centauri taken by the online this week? Sorry, you’ve been duped. The photo does not depict the nearest star to our Sun; it's just a piece of chorizo.
This past weekend, French physicist Étienne Klein an image on Twitter, and claimed the space telescope had taken the image of Proxima Centauri, which resides 4.2 light years away.
The image seemingly shows the nearby star’s red surface in a close-up view no other telescope has ever achieved. “This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day,” Klein wrote in the tweet. However, the French scientist later followed up the tweet with two to say the image was a prank intended to warn people about “cognitive biases.”
“According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth,” he added.
Klein wasn't the only one to post the prank image. Prior to Klein's tweet, Astrophysicist Peter Coles made a similar joke with the same image: "These #JWST images just get better and better..." he wrote in his own tweet.