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Throughout recorded history, several cosmologies and cosmogonies have been proposed to account for observations of the Universe. The earliest quantitative geocentric models were developed by the ancient Greeks, who proposed that the Universe possesses infinite space and has existed eternally, but contains a single set of concentric spheres of finite size – corresponding to the fixed stars, the Sun and various planets – rotating about a spherical but unmoving Earth. Over the centuries, more precise observations and improved theories of gravity led to Copernicus's heliocentric model and the Newtonian model of the Solar System, respectively. Further improvements in astronomy led to the realization that the Solar System is embedded in a galaxy composed of millions of stars, the Milky Way, and that other galaxies exist outside it, as far as astronomical instruments can reach.

The most common term for "Universe" among the ancient Greek philosophers from Pythagoras onwards was το παν (The All), defined as all matter (το ολον) and all space (το κενον). Other synonyms for the Universe among the ancient Greek philosophers included κοσμος (meaning the world, the cosmos) and φυσις (meaning Nature, from which we derive the word physics). The same synonyms are found in Latin authors (totum, mundus, natura) and survive in modern languages, e.g., the German words Das All, Weltall, and Natur for Universe. The same synonyms are found in English, such as everything (as in the theory of everything), the cosmos (as in cosmology), the world (as in the many-worlds hypothesis), and Nature (as in natural laws or natural philosophy)The most common term for "Universe" among the ancient Greek philosophers from Pythagoras onwards was το παν (The All), defined as all matter (το ολον) and all space (το κενον). Other synonyms for the Universe among the ancient Greek philosophers included κοσμος (meaning the world, the cosmos) and φυσις (meaning Nature, from which we derive the word physics). The same synonyms are found in Latin authors (totum, mundus, natura) and survive in modern languages, e.g., the German words Das All, Weltall, and Natur for Universe. The same synonyms are found in English, such as everything (as in the theory of everything), the cosmos (as in cosmology), the world (as in the many-worlds hypothesis), and Nature (as in natural laws or natural philosophy)The most common term for "Universe" among the ancient Greek philosophers from Pythagoras onwards was το παν (The All), defined as all matter (το ολον) and all space (το κενον). Other synonyms for the Universe among the ancient Greek philosophers included κοσμος (meaning the world, the cosmos) and φυσις (meaning Nature, from which we derive the word physics). The same synonyms are found in Latin authors (totum, mundus, natura) and survive in modern languages, e.g., the German words Das All, Weltall, and Natur for Universe. The same synonyms are found in English, such as everything (as in the theory of everything), the cosmos (as in cosmology), the world (as in the many-worlds hypothesis), and Nature (as in natural laws or natural philosophy)

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