A red ball of fiery spiced with glowing patches glowing menacingly against a black background.
This, announced leading French scientist tienne Klein, was the latest stunning photo taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Sun.
Fellow Twitter users expressed surprise at the details of the photograph purportedly taken by the telescope, which has thrilled the world with images of distant galaxies at the birth of the universe.
“This level of detail … reveals a new world every day,” he said.
But in fact, as Klein later revealed, the picture was not of the interesting star more than four light-years from the Sun, but a more modest piece of lip-stunning Spanish sausage chorizo.
“According to contemporary cosmology, nothing related to the Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere on Earth,” he said.
Klein acknowledged that many users did not understand his joke, which he said was intended only to encourage us to “beware the arguments of people in positions of authority, as well as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images”.
However, at a time when battling fake news is paramount to the scientific community, several Twitter users indicated they were unaware of Klein, director of research at France’s Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and a radio show producer.
On Wednesday, he said sorry to the misleaders.
Describing the post as a “scientists’ joke,” he said, “I apologize to those who were shocked by my joke, which had nothing original about it.”
He was posting an image of the famous Cartwheel Galaxy taken by the James Webb Space Telescope on Twitter shortly before. This time, he assured the users, the picture was real.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)