National Research Council of Canada. Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics
solar and stellar astrophysics
We have carried out a re-analysis of polarimetric data of central stars of planetary nebulae, hot subdwarfs, and white dwarfs taken with FORS1 (FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph) on the VLT (Very Large Telescope), and added a large number of new observations in order to increase the sample. A careful analysis of the observations using only one wavelength calibration for the polarimetrically analysed spectra and for all positions of the retarder plate of the spectrograph is crucial in order to avoid spurious signals. We find that the previous detections of magnetic fields in subdwarfs and central stars could not be confirmed while about 10% of the observed white dwarfs have magnetic fields at the kilogauss level.