I know something about the vigilance in which science is considered empirical, especially in analytical philosophy which is deeply rooted in logical positivism and British empiricism. Yet, I can't help but wonder how a lot of the sciences seem to actually make fruitful use of thought experiments and scientific models to come to conclusions: We discuss objects like black holes, and electron orbitals, which are hard even to imagine, let alone measure or observe.
Is it fair to say that modern science, while grounded in empiricism, observation and measurement, also meets many of its claims using the methods that seem closer to the rationalists in the history of epistemology? Or can the definition of "empiricism" be extended to account for the evidence we have of scientific models like space-time, light as waves or light as particles, and entropy? If so, how would you define empiricism to account for this?