In the present study we present all-electron ab initio Hartree–Fock (HF) and configuration interaction (CI) calculations of the 2Sigma+ ground state as well as of 16 excited states of the RhC molecule. The calculated spectroscopic constants of the lowest lying states are in good agreement with the experimental data. The chemical bond in the electronic ground state is mainly due to interaction of the 4d orbitals of Rh with the 2s and 2p orbitals of C. The bond is a triple bond composed of two pi bonds and one sigma bond. The 5s electron of Rh hardly participates in the bond formation. It is located in a singly occupied, nonbonding orbital. The chemical bond in RhC is polar with a charge transfer from Rh to C giving rise to a dipole moment of 2.82 D at the experimental equilibrium distance. Mass spectrometric equilibrium measurements over the temperature range 1970–2806 K have resulted in the selected dissociation D[degree]0 = 576.0±3.8 kJ mol−1 for RhC(g). The Journal of Chemical Physics is copyrighted by The American Institute of Physics.