You can understand why so many people today choose to reject the story as fantasy; it has been turned from Matthew's "matter of fact" into a sanitised and largely incorrect visual nicety. For Matthew, the "wise men" came "following a star" as essential background to the main event and as pointers to the Messiahship of the newborn child.
[They enquired of Herod] "Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him."
And so they left [Herod], and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the East. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
But why must we try to identify a specific astronomical phenomenon? Why could not the star be an super-natural sign from an omnipotent God unlimited by the laws of Physics? If there is no God, the whole narrative is tosh anyway; if God is real then popping a mega star into the sky or into the minds of the visitors is as easy as falling off a cloud.
Trust Matthew or reject Christmas. The choice is clear-cut.