Eclipses have been a source of fascination throughout history and this feeds into popular novels.
Eclipses were mentioned in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a non-fiction book instigated by Alfred the Great, and one of the major primary sources for this period in English history. Here, the event is linked to Earthly events: "the Moon was as if it had been sprinkled with blood, and Abp. [Abp. denotes "Archbishop"] Tatwine and Beda died and Ecgberht was hallowed bishop." The reference to blood was to the copper colour phenomenon that sometimes happens during a lunar eclipse, which also links to the blood of death. This happened on 24 January 734.
On Christmas day 828, the Chronicle says: "In this year the Moon was eclipsed on mid-winter's Mass-night, and the same year King Ecgbert subdued the kingdom of the Mercians and all that was South of the Humber." Again the link was made between events in the sky and on Earth.
In Crushed the solar eclipse of 664 is the start of so many bad things that actually did happen in that year. Read more to find out what.
In Gulfyrian I used an eclipse to the shadow the death of one of my main characters. I had done my research - although there may be a bit of poetic licence involved too. 15 November 654 was the date of the eclipse, but I'm not sure if it was visible over the area of the battle. I'm also not sure if the battle was fought in 654 or 655. But I'll go with whenever the eclipse was. It serves as an omen after all.
More than anything else, eclipses are ghostly and atmospheric and with all that baggage from history, why wouldn't a novelist utilise the wonder of eclipses?