The symposium is
motivated by the quickly expanding research on extra-solar planets and
the growth of interest in this topic among the astronomy community.
Among the many discoveries related to this young field, the detection
and study of transiting planets has now emerged as an extremely fruitful research area.
The measurement of the planetary radius combined with the measurement of the dynamic mass of the planet have provided direct access to the mean density of many hot Jupiter planets challenging the theoretical models. The special geometry of the orbit of transiting planets also allows detecting, by transmission spectroscopy, some atmospheric features of the planetary atmosphere. The observations of the “secondary eclipse” corresponding to the passage of the planet behind the star, have been successfully used to obtain a direct measurement of planetary fluxes.
Large transit survey programs are regularly announcing new detections, triggering a wide diversity of follow-up activities - from radial velocity measurements to HST and Spitzer observations. The launch of the Corot and the Kepler space missions should move this field towards the detection of small planets the size of the Earth.
All these discoveries stimulate modeling and theoretical research on the physics of the interiors and the atmospheres of planets. A decade after the first discoveries of extra-solar planets we are contemplating the first steps into the field of exo-planetology research.