Evaluation of magnetic shear in off-disk center active regions
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We analyze the changes that projection effects produce in the evaluation of magnetic shear in off-disk center active regions by comparing angular shear calculated in image plane and heliographic coordinates. We describe the procedure for properly evaluating magnetic shear by transforming the observed vector magnetic field into the heliographic system and then apply this procedure to evaluate magnetic shear along the magnetic neutral line in an active region that was observed on 1984 April 24 at a longitude offset of -45°. In particular, we show that the number of ‘critically sheared’ pixels along an east-west directed segment of the neutral line in the leader sunspot group changes from 16 in the image plane magnetogram to 14 in the heliographic magnetogram. We also show that the critical shear as calculated in the image plane served as a good predictor for the location of flaring activity since the flare ribbons of the great flare of April 24 bracketed the inversion line where the critical shear was located. These results indicate that for this particular region, projection effects did not significantly affect the evaluation of critical shear.
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