Abductive reasoning (also known as abduction, abductive inference or retroduction) is a type of logical inference that follows through from observation to a theory. Ideally this process will seek the simplest and most straight forward explanation. In abductive reasoning, unlike deductive reasoning, the premises do not automatically guarantee the conclusion. Abductive reasoning can be understood as "inference to the best explanation." However, this type of reasoning can lead to erroneous conclusions.
For instance, for millennia humans have observed the sun appear to rise and set, apparently moving on its own and it took centuries for science to recognize that the sun is stationary and it is the earth that moves.