I am now in my mid 20s and I remember when I was 6-10 years old, there was a comet or asteroid that flew really close to earth. I remember being able to see the object very clearly as if it were the moon. I also live in the west coast of the United States. What was this object?
Was it Comet Hale-Bopp? It was discovered in 1995, but made a very close approach in 1997, earning it the nickname "The Great Comet of 1997".
As it passed perihelion on April 1, 1997 the comet developed into a spectacular sight. It shone brighter than any star in the sky except Sirius, and its dust tail stretched 40–45 degrees across the sky. The comet was visible well before the sky got fully dark each night, and while many great comets are very close to the Sun as they pass perihelion, comet Hale–Bopp was visible all night to northern hemisphere observers.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia user LoopZilla under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Austria license.
My second guess is Comet Hyakutake, which made an extremely close approach to Earth in 1996 - becoming "The Great Comet of 1996".