Klein recently shared a stunning high-definition image on Twitter, said to have been taken by JWST, depicting Proxima Centauri. Aside from our own sun, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to Earth, just over 4 light-years away. While that sounds close, scientists say it would take us 6,300 years to get to Proxima using modern technology.
That distance certainly makes the image even more exciting, because the star is so detailed on the image Klein shared. On a completely dark background, there are dark reds with light spots. “Because of this level of detail… a new world unfolds day after day,” Klein said.
The initial reaction to Klein’s tweet must have been surprise. The level of detail of an object so distant from us speaks volumes about the true capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope, and the wonders of our universe. Soon after, however, Klein revealed that what we were seeing was not actually Proxima Centauri at all. Actually, it’s a slice of sausage.
Unsurprisingly, many users were duped by Klein’s little joke, which the scientist claims was the whole purpose of his “experiment.” Klein later told French news agency Le Point that his aim was to show the masses that you shouldn’t always believe everything you read or see in the news. The fact that Klein is usually a credible source makes it even more weighty, because if you can’t trust a famous physicist, who can you really trust?
Klein admitted another joke on Twitter. “According to contemporary cosmology, items belonging to a Spanish deli do not exist anywhere else but Earth,” he tweeted.