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As of 2007 November 9, the coma, the dust ball around the comet, will briefly be the largest (in size, not mass) object in our solar system, with a diameter greater than that of the Sun.
Based on orbital computations and luminosity before the 2007 outburst, the comet's nucleus was estimated at 3.4 km
The cause of the outburst is not definitely known. The huge cloud of gas and dust may have resulted from a collision with a meteoroid, or, more probably, from a build-up of gas inside the comet's nucleus which eventually broke through the surface