A bright supernova appeared in M101 towards the end of August. At its brightest on about September 18, it reached around magnitude 11.1 and was easily visible in an 8" telescope; the third such supernova of 2011.
Around the start of 2012, the supernova was still visible in an 18" telescope at around magnitude 14.
I continued observing the supernova until September 2012, by which time it had faded from view. The resulting lightcurve is shown below. The supernova was a Type II, the spectacular death of a high-mass star.
Below is an animation of all of the imges I was able to obtain. It is possible to see the supernova brighten a little before fading away to nothing.