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Matrices Systems of equations Eigenvalues and eigenvectors In general, a matrix acts on a vector by changing both its magnitude and its direction. However, a matrix may act on certain vectors by changing only their magnitude, and leaving their direction unchanged (or possibly reversing it). These vectors are the eigenvectors of the matrix. A matrix acts on an eigenvector by multiplying its magnitude by a factor, which is positive if its direction is unchanged and negative if its direction is reversed. This factor is the eigenvalue associated with that eigenvector. An eigenspace is the set of all eigenvectors that have the same eigenvalue, together with the zero vector. In this shear mapping of the Mona Lisa, the picture was deformed in such a way that its central vertical axis (red vector) has not changed direction, but the diagonal vector (blue) has changed direction. Hence the red vector is an eigenvector of the transformation and the blue vector is not. Since the red vector was neither stretched nor compressed, its eigenvalue is 1. All vectors with the same vertical direction—i.e., parallel to this vector—are also eigenvectors, with the same eigenvalue. Together with the zero vector, they form the eigenspace for this eigenvalue.