During its days at Herstmonceux, the RGO built up an enviable reputation for world-class astronomical research. Each year Herstmonceux Castle was the venue for a major conference attracting top astronomers from all over the world; including Stephen Hawking. RGO was also responsible for more routine work, involving the careful mapping of star positions, monitoring of solar activity and provision of a national time service. It was from the observatory's atomic clocks at Herstmonceux that the familiar 'six-pips' were sent by land-line to the BBC for broadcast. Today, the BBC generates the 'pips' for themselves. Another facet of the RGO's work was the production of annual almanacs which contained the carefully computed positions of the sun, moon, planets and stars for every day of the year. This work was carried out jointly with the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC.