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The Short Version: Welcome to the modern dating era. “What time were you born?” has replaced the classic “What’s your sign?” as more people are ditching the age-old pickup line and asking for birth charts instead. Stars Align is a unique dating app that takes astrological compatibility seriously. The app’s Co-Founder Thomas Rutherfoord shared how he envisions connecting people based on more than looks or small talk. His app aims for a deeper, universal connection.
On paper, my husband and I shouldn’t be together. Our Sun Signs — I’m a Leo, and he’s a Taurus — are considered so incompatible that it’s been described as a race to the end because of our shared stubbornness. But in reality, the only thing my husband’s ever been stubborn about is his pizza toppings.
I’m not the only one who’s experienced a clear disconnect between what our Sun signs say and who we are as people. And yet, so many people base who they’re matched with based on their signs. That’s why Stars Align goes beyond the surface level of sign-to-sign compatibility.
Stars Align is a niche dating app designed to help you find your Cosmic Match based on the alignment of the planets at the moment you were born.
Behind the app is Thomas Rutherfoord, who, like many of us, has experienced less-than-ideal encounters on mainstream dating apps. His curiosity led him to wonder if there was a better way to bridge the gap between a successful match and a real-life relationship.
While plenty of astrology dating apps exist out there, Stars Align sets itself apart by using NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory data to craft accurate birth charts before calculating compatibility with potential matches.
So, the next time you’re asked, “What time were you born?” consider coming well-prepared, down to the exact minute.
Thomas conceived the idea for Stars Align during the height of COVID-19, a time when rates of loneliness peaked.
“COVID turned the world upside down, and I noticed a huge interest in what was beyond the material world that focused on personal connections and discovery,” he explained.
Thomas first wanted to address the lack of compatibility based on market segmentation. (That is, grouping people into categories based on sexuality, ethnicity, and religion.) Stars Align breaks this norm, focusing on compatibility determined by birth charts rather than predefined dating categories.
Secondly, Thomas was intent on solving “the dance” of hookup culture where swiping for matches can be very transactional.
The dating world is often talked about as if it were dominated by hookup culture. But despite what it may seem, today’s generation isn’t hooking up more than our parents were. The illusion that we are stems from the strong presence of social media and endless dating apps where people can freely express their intentions.
And yet, finding like-minded people can be a struggle for those trying out the online dating experience.
Around 1 in 10 people who use online dating services quit within three months, likely because they’re feeling frustrated. Some users feel online dating apps lack depth, encourage shallowness, and place an overemphasis on sex.
If you’ve ever received an unsolicited 3 AM text (“you up?”), Stars Align wants to help change that narrative by introducing intentionality and cosmic compatibility into the dating scene.
“Astrology is essentially a means of leveling the playing field where everyone could interact within a framework rooted in common belief,” Thomas said.
When signing up for the app, share your name, birthday, birthplace, and birth time. The app then uses data from NASA to accurately create your Sun, Moon, and Rising signs, along with your birth chart — a personalized guide to your personality divided into 12 houses.
Your potential matches can view all this detailed information, including your location and a custom bio to pave the way to deeper and more meaningful connections.
The practice of astrology is thousands of years old. It has roots predating even the most basic concepts we know today, including modern religion and science.
Astrology is a pretty incredible phenomenon that propelled the human race forward. Stars Align aims to provide similar guidance based on synastry.
Synastry is the study of how two people’s natal horoscopes relate. It may show potential insights into how partners complement each other by focusing on the planetary aspects that occurred during their birth times.
Think of it this way: It’s similar to the influence of birth order, which argues that your position among siblings can influence your personality. Common generalizations are that oldest siblings are ambitious leaders; middle siblings are the peacemakers; and younger siblings tend to get punished less.
After you sign up to Stars Align and make a profile, you can expect:
The free app can be upgraded to a premium version for enhanced compatibility analysis. But Thomas emphasized the primary goal is to make it digestible so it’s accessible for everyone no matter their stage in the astrology journey.
“I think a huge challenge with astrology is it can be a little dense, similar to how people have a hard time understanding complex scientific concepts,” Thomas noted. “So one of our main goals within the app is making that approachable and translating it into everyday language.”
Thomas also said he wants to incorporate a feature called composite charts for people in relationships. Composite charts show similarities and differences between the houses each of their planets occupy.
“This method takes the planets’ midpoint and builds a singular composite chart,” Thomas explained. “The composite charts will be under a ‘relationship mode’ so people who meet on the app can continue studying their compatibility.”
Although Stars Align is designed to help you meet your Cosmic Match, Thomas emphasized it shouldn’t be the sole determinant for anyone searching for love.
“A lot of times, people are judged on how they look on paper versus who they are, which is one of the biggest mistakes we can make,” Thomas said. “So I would always say to maintain an open mindset with a sense of curiosity and avoid judging people too quickly.”
He explained that if you go in with preconceived notions about who you’re “supposed” to match with, you may embark on a self-fulfilling prophecy. For instance, as an Earth sign, Thomas was advised that he wouldn’t match with Fire and Air signs, so he might unconsciously avoid potential matches from those signs.
And yet, historically, he’s had great friendships and relationships with both these signs. “Getting over those challenges with someone can be rewarding because it pushes you to these sometimes uncomfortable lengths, which force you to grow as a person,” he said.
Reflecting on my near-decade-long relationship, where every app and quiz pointed to our incompatibility, this is a nice reminder. Regardless of how compatible you may be, every relationship takes work.
Thomas said to keep an eye out for an update in the app in the spring of 2024 when it will be more fleshed out with complete features and an extensive dataset. In the meantime, you can download the Stars Align app for free on iOS or Android.