Abstract The main topic of long-term researches by G.A. Shajn is the nature of diffuse matter, its distribution in the Galaxy and extragalactic systems, interaction with the interstellar medium and hot stars, and the formation of emission and reflection nebulae and stars. Based on the analysis of experimental data, mainly photographic observations of nebulae in the Milky Way and extragalactic systems, he made conclusions and suggested well-founded hypotheses on a wide range of considered problems, including those related to cosmogony. The structure of nebulae, and their masses and sizes give reasons behind the conclusion that most of them are formed not in the process of ejection of matter from the stars, but rather they are objects which are born and evolve, and quite often are comprised of giant conglomerates of gas, dust and stars. The distribution of OB-type stars and nebulae in spiral branches points to their genetic relation and the fundamental role of the interstellar medium as the source of their formation. The structural features of nebulae are determined by the action of magnetohydrodynamic forces. Magnetic fields in a galaxy control the motion of diffuse gas-dust matter and ensure the maintenance of its spiral structure. These ideas continue being developed in modern directions of astrophysics.
Keywords galaxy — interstellar matter — diffuse nebulae — cosmogony
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