Discovery of an extremely weak magnetic field in the white dwarf LTT 16093 = WD 2047+372 ⋆
Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh
BT61 9DG, UK
2 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada
3 Astrophysics Group, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
4 Special Astrophysical Observatory, Nizhnij Arkhiz, Zelenchukskij Region, 369167 Karachai-Cherkessian Republic, Russia
Received: 11 March 2016
Accepted: 1 May 2016
Context. Magnetic fields have been detected in several hundred white dwarfs, with strengths ranging from a few kG to several hundred MG. Only a few of the known fields have a mean magnetic field modulus below about 1 MG.
Aims. We are searching for new examples of magnetic white dwarfs with very weak fields, and trying to model the few known examples. Our search is intended to be sensitive enough to detect fields at the few kG level.
Methods. We have been surveying bright white dwarfs for very weak fields using spectropolarimeters at the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), the European Southern Observatory, and the Russian Special Astrophysical Observatory. We discuss in some detail tests of the WHT spectropolarimeter ISIS using the known magnetic strong-field Ap star HD 215441 (Babcock’s star) and the long-period Ap star HD 201601 (γ Equ).
Results. We report the discovery of a field with a mean field modulus of about 57 kG in the white dwarf LTT 16093 = WD 2047+372. The field is clearly detected through the Zeeman splitting of Hα seen in two separate circularly polarised spectra from two different spectropolarimeters. Zeeman circular polarisation is also detected, but only barely above the 3σ level.
Conclusions. The discovery of this field is significant because it is the third weakest field ever unambiguously discovered in a white dwarf, while still being large enough that we should be able to model the field structure in some detail with future observations.
Key words: white dwarfs / stars: magnetic field / stars: individual: WD2047+372
Based on observations made with the William Herschel Telescope operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, and on observations obtained at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) which is operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France, and the University of Hawaii.
© ESO, 2016