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VERITAS could not detect M82's cosmic rays directly because they are trapped within the Cigar Galaxy.
Instead, VERITAS looked for clues to the presence of cosmic rays: gamma rays. Gamma rays are the most energetic form of light, far more powerful than ultraviolet light or even X-rays.
When cosmic rays interact with interstellar gas and radiation within M82, they produce gamma rays, which can then escape their home galaxy and reach Earthbound detectors...