• methods: statistical;
  • radio continuum: galaxies


In this paper we investigate the performance of the likelihood ratio method as a tool for identifying optical and infrared counterparts to proposed radio continuum surveys with Square Kilometre Array (SKA) precursor and pathfinder telescopes. We present a comparison of the infrared counterparts identified by the likelihood ratio in the VISTA Deep Extragalactic Observations (VIDEO) survey to radio observations with 6, 10 and 15 arcsec resolution. We cross-match a deep radio catalogue consisting of radio sources with peak flux density >60 inline imageJy with deep near-infrared data limited to Ks≲ 22.6. Comparing the infrared counterparts from this procedure to those obtained when cross-matching a set of simulated lower resolution radio catalogues indicates that degrading the resolution from 6 arcsec to 10 and 15 arcsec decreases the completeness of the cross-matched catalogue by approximately 3 and 7 per cent respectively. When matching against shallower infrared data, comparable to that achieved by the VISTA Hemisphere Survey, the fraction of radio sources with reliably identified counterparts drops from ∼89 per cent, at Ks≲ 22.6, to 47 per cent with Ks≲ 20.0. Decreasing the resolution at this shallower infrared limit does not result in any further decrease in the completeness produced by the likelihood ratio matching procedure. However, we note that radio continuum surveys with the MeerKAT and eventually the SKA, will require long baselines in order to ensure that the resulting maps are not limited by instrumental confusion noise.