The Fraction of DA White Dwarfs with Kilo-Gauss Magnetic Fields
Aznar Cuadrado, R.
Current estimates for white dwarfs with fields in excess of 1MG are about 10%; according to our first high-precision circular-polarimetric study of 12 bright white dwarfs with the VLT (Aznar Cuadrado et al. 2004) this number increases up to about 25% in the kG regime. With our new sample of ten white dwarf observations (plus one sdO star) we wanted to improve the sample statistics to determine the incident of kG magnetic fields in white dwarfs. In one of our objects (LTT 7987) we detected a statistically significant (97% confidence level) longitudinal magnetic field varying between (−1±0.5) kG and (+1 ± 0.5) kG. This would be the weakest magnetic field ever found in a white dwarf, but at this level of accuracy, systematic errors cannot completely be ruled out. Together with previous investigations, the fraction of kG magnetic fields in white dwarfs amounts to about 11 − 15% , which is close to current estimates for highly magnetic white dwarfs (> 1MG).