An extract on #universe
The earliest scientific models of the Universe were developed by ancient Greek and Indian philosophers and were geocentric, placing Earth at the centre of the Universe. Over the centuries, more precise astronomical observations led Nicolaus Copernicus to develop the heliocentric model with the Sun at the centre of the Solar System. In developing the law of universal gravitation, Sir Isaac Newton built upon Copernicus's work as well as observations by Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler's laws of planetary motion.
Further observational improvements led to the realization that our Solar System is located in the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of many galaxies in the Universe. It is assumed that galaxies are distributed uniformly and the same in all directions, meaning that the Universe has neither an edge nor a center. Discoveries in the early 20th century have suggested that the Universe had a beginning and that it is expanding at an increasing rate. The majority of mass in the Universe appears to exist in an unknown form called dark matter.
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development of the Universe. Under this theory, space and time emerged together 13.7990.021 billion years ago with a fixed amount of energy and matter that has become less dense as the Universe has expanded. After the initial expansion, the Universe cooled, allowing the first subatomic particles to form and then simple atoms. Giant clouds later merged through gravity to form galaxies, stars, and everything else seen today.
There are many competing hypotheses about the ultimate fate of the Universe and about what, if anything, preceded the Big Bang, while other physicists and philosophers refuse to speculate, doubting that information about prior states will ever be accessible. Some physicists have suggested various multiverse hypotheses, in which the Universe might be one among many universes that likewise exist.
The Universe can be defined as everything that exists, everything that has existed, and everything that will exist. According to our current understanding, the Universe consists of spacetime, forms of energy (including electromagnetic radiation and matter), and the physical laws that relate them. The Universe encompasses all of life, all of history, and some philosophers and scientists suggest that it even encompasses ideas such as mathematics and logic.
The word universe derives from the Old French word univers, which in turn derives from the Latin word universum. The Latin word was used by Cicero and later Latin authors in many of the same senses as the modern English word is used.