No, James Webb Did Not Spot A Distant Star Made Of Sausage

If you thought you'd seen it all and then some when it comes to the internet, we're here to hit you with a firm, "no, you haven't." Whether you've been following the news about the James Webb Space Telescope or not, it's not a mystery that the successor to the legendary Hubble is capable of some great things: the first images provided by the JWST team were breathtaking. With these outstanding images plastered all over the news, it's not hard to believe that the astronomers' new darling can do just about anything — and believe, we sure did.

Étienne Klein, a famous French physicist, just took the whole of the internet for a ride in the best way possible. Klein recently shared a photo on Twitter that had eyes and mouths wide open: a stunningly HD image, allegedly taken by the JWST, picturing Proxima Centauri. Apart from our very own Sun, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to Earth, with a distance of a little over 4 light years away. If that sounds like it's near, keep in mind that scientists say it would take us 6,300 years to reach Proxima Centauri using modern-day technology.

The distance certainly made the image all the more exciting, because on the image shared by Klein, the star was so very detailed. Dark red, with lighter spots splattered throughout, on top of a completely dark background. "This level of detail... A new world is revealed day after day," said Klein (via translation). Little did we know that the renowned physicist didn't mean a literal new world in Proxima Centauri, but rather a whole new world of trolling.

The tastiest star in the universe

The initial response to Klein's tweet was definitely that of amazement. That level of detail on a celestial object so far away from us spoke volumes about the true power of the James Webb Space Telescope, and the wonders of the universe we're a part of. Only a little later did Klein reveal that what we were seeing was not, in fact, Proxima Centauri at all. It was, in reality, a slice of chorizo. Delicious, most likely; prone to record-setting stellar flares, not so much.

Unsurprisingly, many users were fooled by Klein's little joke, which the scientist claims was the whole purpose of his "experiment." Klein later told Le Point, a French news outlet, that his goal was to show the masses that you shouldn't always believe in everything you read, or see, on the news. The fact that Klein is normally such a credible source only gave this more weight, because if you can't trust a renowned physicist, who can you really trust?

Klein came clean on Twitter with another joke. "According to contemporary cosmology," he tweeted, "no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth." Whether it was meant as a lesson or not, it's certainly good to know that JWST is not busying itself by taking photos of Spanish sausages. It's also nice to (kind of) confirm that Proxima Centauri is, in all likelihood, not made of sausage.