We have performed CO(J=3−2) emission observations with the Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE) toward the 5′ × 5′ (or 6.6 × 6.6 kpc at the distance D = 4.5 Mpc) region of the nearby barred spiral galaxy M 83. We successfully resolved the major structures, i.e., the nuclear starburst region, bar, and inner spiral arms in CO(J=3−2) emission at a resolution of 22'' (or 480 pc), showing a good spatial coincidence between CO(J=3−2) and 6 cm continuum emissions.
From a comparison of CO(J=3−2) data with CO(J=1−0) intensities measured with Nobeyama 45-m telescope, we found that the radial profile of CO(J=3−2)/CO(J=1−0) integrated intensity ratio R3−2/1−0 is almost unity in the central region (r<0.25 kpc), whereas it drops to a constant value, 0.6–0.7, in the disk region. The radial profile of star formation efficiencies (SFEs), determined from 6 cm radio continuum and CO(J=1−0) emission, shows the same trend as that of R3−2/1−0. At the bar-end (r ~ 2.4 kpc), the amounts of molecular gas and the massive stars are enhanced when compared with other disk regions, whereas there is no excess of R3−2/1−0 and SFE in that region. This means that a simple summation of the star forming regions at the bar-end and the disk cannot reproduce the nuclear starburst of M 83, implying that the spatial variation of the dense gas fraction traced by R3−2/1−0 governs the spatial variation of SFE in M 83.