Early Models of the Universe

Stonehenge with midwinter Sun
Credit: R. Hollow
The ancient megalithic site, Stonehenge, in England near the midwinter solstice.

Humans have constructed models of the Universe for thousands of years. As technology improved they were able to refine and develop their models, moving from myth to scientific investigation of their surroundings. In this section you will learn about some of the key historical steps in the development of our understanding of the Universe. The focus will be on the models devloped in antiquity by Greek astronomers and the major developments from the 1500s through to the time of Newton.

Syllabus Requirements

1. Our Sun is just one star in the galaxy and ours is just one galaxy in the Universe

  • outline the historical development of models of the Universe from the time of Aristotle to the time of Newton
  • identify data sources, and gather, process and analyse information to assess one of the models of the Universe developed from the time of Aristotle to the time of Newton to identify limitations placed on the development of the model by the technology available at the time.

Physics Stage 6 Syllabus © Copyright 2002 The State of New South Wales (Board of Studies).

**Full material for this section is now online. Please view the Key Links page for other sources of information.