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The 2010IK was the first supernova spotted from within Ireland, but what above all makes the revelation special is that Grennan, of Raheny, north Dublin, is not a professional astronomer. "It's an example of the heights that can be reached by ordinary people," says David Moore, chairman of Astronomy Ireland.

"Astronomy really is unique in being an area where we amateurs can make a contribution." And recently amateurs have been making quite a lot of contributions.

These are the same people who believe you can cut taxes but expand services, and who believe you can extract oil from the ground indefinitely without running out of it.

And if 20% believe we didn't go to the moon, that means 80% do, right?

Bassam Haddad, an author and scholar of Middle Eastern Studies, has noted how detached the discussion on the ongoing events in Syria has become: "Syria is a game now," he writes, "played by states, institutions, analysts, activists, journalists, bloggers, tweeters, and artists who are often only remotely connected to the real lives of real people enduring real conditions there."(3) While watching such videos in the news or on the internet, we, the spectators, are tragically "divorced from the cumulative history of pain and experience that have led to that reality."(4) The detachedness of watching war has been described by Susan Sontag as "a quintessential modern experience."(5) The playing field of journalism — once firmly in the hand of reporters, press agencies, and media corporations — is a rapidly shifting ground today.

With journalists almost completely absent from the battlefield,(6) individuals — anonymous cameramen and -women — have entered the field of representation en masse.

The 2010IK, as it was subsequently christened, is a supernova – a stellar explosion so powerful that it destroys not only the star itself but all nearby suns and planets.But again, there are a ton of pro’s who can’t…and a ton of amateurs who can.However, I think when you change the of a professional photographer. This is a photo from a paid shoot for a commercial client which is now generating income in my Stocksy portfolio.Is this the same American public that regularly wrote angry letters to Dave Barry when he said stuff like the Leaning Tower of Pisa was in Paris, or that the Czech Republic and Slovakia used to go by the name "The Netherlands?" That wrote in saying they were afraid to stuff turkeys because he once wrote a column saying that giblet snakes lived inside? There is no idea on God's green earth so dumb that you can't get a big chunk of the American public to buy it.There has been a lot of talk recently about what the difference is between amateur and professional photographers.Comments by industry big shots, such as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer who proclaim that there “is no such thing really as professional photographers” (well maybe not pro cat/flower/sunset photographers posting to Flickr anyway).This one wasn't, in fact, a child of 2010 but of some 300 million years ago.What Grennan spotted was the blast's light as it finally reached Earth; the time lag was a product of the distance the light had to travel.Many so called “amateur” photographers create some pretty damn amazing photographs (take a look at most of the work on 500px) – and many so called “professional” photographers deliver some pretty awful photographs to their clients (see US Olympic Team Portraits).So, I don’t think that there is really a definable quality difference.

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